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Highest Number of Over-40 Births in 22 Years

Posted September. 06, 2005 07:13,   


The number of newborns fell to a record low, while more mothers gave birth later in life, last year seeing the highest number of children born from mothers 40 years old or older in 22 years.

According to the National Statistical Office (NSO) announcement on Monday, 5,787 babies were born from mothers aged 40 or older last year, the highest figure since 7,385 babies in 1982.

In 1981, mothers who were 40 years old or older gave birth to 9,747 babies, but the number decreased with the spread of reluctance to give birth, recording 3,054 in 1985 and 2,122 in 1989.

However, the trend saw a turnaround in 1990 with 2,250, and the figure has steadily increased with 3,238 in 1994, 4,110 in 1996, and 5,413 in 2000.

Broken down in age groups, mothers in their early 40s from 40 to 44 gave birth to 5,388 babies, representing the highest proportion of over-forty births. Mothers in their late 40s from 45 to 49 years old had 373 babies. These mothers enter their “silver days,” reaching the 60s, when their children are in elementary school. Additionally, as many as 26 women in their 50s gave birth last year.

Many children born to these mothers last year were third, “late” children. Of those born to mothers in their early 40s and late 40s, 1,450 and 80, respectively, were third children, the highest number in 24 years for the former since 1980 with 1,780, and, likewise, the highest number in 21 years for the latter since 1983 with 85.

NSO official Kim Dong-hoi explained, “Many of the mothers were baby boomers born in early 1960s and on top of that, there has been a rising trend to give ‘late births’ in their 40s which both led to increased childbirths in women in their 40s.”

Joong-Hyun Park sanjuck@donga.com