Published : 2013-01-25 15:56
Updated : 2013-01-25 15:56
South Korea's fertility rate is expected to have risen slightly last year but is still far from a safe level, a government commission said Friday.
According to the presidential commission on birth rate and aging society, the country's fertility rate is believed to have risen to 1.3 children per woman in 2012.
The fertility rate is the average number of children born to a woman during her lifetime. The rate needs to be at over 2.01 for the population to grow, but South Korea's fertility rate has remained below that level since 1983, dipping to as low as 1.08 in 2005.
The country's statistics office on Thursday said the number of newborns grew for the seventh consecutive month in November. Such a figure for December is not yet available, but the presidential commission said its use of a three-year average for December put the country's fertility rate at 1.3 as of the end of last year.
If such a rate is confirmed, it will mark the first time in 11 years the country's fertility rate reached 1.3, which is considered a critical level, it said.
"As numbers for December have yet to be available, it is difficult to say the rate will exceed 1.3 for sure, but there seems to be a high possibility," an official from the Ministry of Health and Welfare said.
The official, however, noted the country's fertility rate will continue to remain one of the lowest among the member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which had an average of 1.74 in 2010. (Yonhap News)