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Report says out-of-wedlock birth rate lowest in Korea among OECD states

South Korea has the lowest rate of out-of-wedlock births among advanced countries, primarily because of ingrained conservative social values, a report said Monday.

The report published in the latest quarterly by the Statistical Research Institute put the country’s childbearing rate for unmarried women at 1.9 percent in 2014, the lowest among member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Japan was next at 2.3 percent.

The figure for Korea compares starkly with 56.7 percent for France and 54.6 percent for Sweden. The average for 27 OECD countries was 40.5 percent.


“The reason why the rate is low in South Korea and Japan is because of conservative values,” the report said.

The rate was 0.9 percent in 2000, 1.5 percent in 2005 and 2.1 percent for the 2010-2013 period.

Other statistics in the report showed that there were roughly 1.53 million single-parent households in the country as of the end of 2017, or 7.8 percent of all households. Among them, there were 22,065 unwed mothers compared with 8,424 unwed fathers.

A survey about attitudes toward divorce showed changes over the past decade. In 2006, 19.5 percent of survey respondents answered that divorce was out of the question, regardless of the cause. In 2016, the number fell to 9.5 percent, according to the report.

When asked whether a divorce was better if there was a good reason, 14 percent responded yes in 2016 compared with 6.8 percent in 2006. (Yonhap)