As South Korea’s fertility rates are waning, the number of women giving birth in their 40s has starkly increased over the last decade, data showed Monday.
According to data received by Rep. Shin Hyun-young of the Democratic Party of Korea from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the total number of birth cases declined from 424,717 in 2013 to 244,580 in 2022, down 180,137 births in 10 years.
In the same period, however, the country saw a rise in the number of women giving birth in their 40s, with total births increasing from 13,697 to 19,636, due to the fact that they are thought to be in a better financial situation.
The finding came to light based on the country’s demographic changes, and the study was conducted based on the number of newborns in medical institutions. Multiple births were counted as one birth for the purpose of the data.
The data also showed that the number of women giving birth in their 20s fell sharply from 105,931 to 38,685 in the same period, showing that a growing number of young women are deferring having children compared to a decade ago.
As more women are delaying childbirth, the data showed women in their 30s accounted for 76 percent of the country’s births, although the number of births among 30-something women dropped overall from 303,085 to 185,945 over the same time period.
Rep. Shin called for improved infrastructure and better support for pregnant women at maternity facilities, citing the risks of having a child later in life, including health risks related to pregnancy and the health of the baby.
“A comprehensive approach is needed to address the falling birth rates among the younger generation and understand why young people are deferring childbirth in order to support them,” Rep. Shin said.