| Korea뭩 total fertility rate has plummeted again this year from last year뭩 1.19 births per woman, indicating that Korea will likely remain in the group of countries with very low fertility rates (under 1.30 births per woman). It is highly likely to have the lowest fertility rate (1.17 births per woman) among the member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development for the 12th year since 2002. A total fertility rate refers to the average number of children born to a woman during her childbearing years (ages between 15 and 49).
According to the Health and Welfare Ministry and the Statistics Korea, the number of births from the first four months of this year was 154,000, around a 2,100 -decrease from last year뭩 156,100, and around a 14,900-decrease from 2012 (168,900). If the trend continues until the end of this year, the total number of births will decline by more than 6,000 this year compared to last year.
The decline in the number of births directly leads to the fall in the birth rate. The Dong-A Ilbo ran a simulation with a research team led by Choi Yong-tae, a professor of the Graduate School of Public Health at Seoul National University. The simulation forecast that if the downward trend in the number of births continues, the total fertility rate would drop by more than 0.02 births per woman from last year뭩 1.19 to 1.17 this year. Korea뭩 birth rate fell to 1.30 for the first time in 2001, hit the bottom of 1.08 in 2005, and rebounded to 1.30 in 2012. But once again, it plummeted to 1.19. last year.