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First-borns record new high of 63 percent of last year’s births

First-borns record new high of 63 percent of last year’s births

Posted March. 27, 2023 07:43,   

Updated March. 27, 2023 07:43


The rate of first-borns in the country’s births surpassed 60 percent for the first time last year. While fewer young people have been in a rush to walk down the aisle, more families are reluctant to have two or more children due to financial burdens including education fees.

According to a report on births and deaths recorded in 2022 issued by Statistics Korea on Sunday, 156,000 newborns turned out to be the first baby to their parents, taking up 62.7 percent of the total births recorded last year. The figure rose by 5.9 percentage points from 56.8 percent two years ago, recording the highest ratio ever calculated since data were first collected in 1981.

The birth trends show that there have been fewer second-born and later-born babies, while the country has seen an overall drop in total births. Last year, newly born were decreased by 12,000 compared to two years ago. The number of first-borns rose by 8,000, whereas second-born and later-born babies decreased by 15,000 and 4,000, respectively, in numbers. Starting from 2015, there was a decrease in the number of first-borns along with the decreasing total number of newborns every year. However, last year saw an uptick in the number of first-borns in the total births as more couples got married and had babies after delaying marriage and childbearing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ratio of firstborns has risen on a year-on-year basis since 2011. It went up by 11.7 percent points in 11 years - from 51 percent in 2011 to 62.7 percent last year. By contrast, second-born babies saw a decrease in their ratio from 38.1 to 30.5 percent, while later-borns dwindled from 11 to 6.8 percent over the same period.

One of the biggest attributes to the trends is that people get married later, leading women to give birth at a later age and find it harder to have two or more children. As of 2021, the average age at first birth among South Korean women was 32.6 years, 0.3 up from a year ago. Since related data were first recorded in 1993 when an average woman bore her first baby at 26.2, the age has increased on a yearly basis.