May 11, 2006

South Korean birthrate hits 1.08 babies per woman:

South Korea's birth rate has fallen to its lowest level on record in 2005, sparking concern about a shrinking population and aging society.

The birth rate, which represents the average number of children a woman is expected to have during her reproductive lifetime, stood at 1.08 in 2005, down from 1.16 in 2004, the National Statistical Office (NSO) said Monday.

The rate is the lowest in the 30-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the club of leading democracies, it said.

The NSO said more women were putting off marriage to a later age, with many reluctant to have children.

Despite incentives from the government to boost the birth rate, young South Koreans regard children as an expensive burden on their lifestyles and careers.

The striking thing about this horrific number is that South Korea is not one of those effete, lazy Eurotrash countries that Mark Steyn is always going on and on about. It's the home of the Work Hard, Riot Hard ethos. In 2001, South Koreans worked 500 hours more per year than Americans, and we work long hours compared to Europeans or even Japanese.

Sheer population density must be one cause: among countries with populations over 10 million, South Korea is third (behind Bangladesh and Taiwan) at 491/km. France is at 110 and the U.S. at 30.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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