The Korea Herald


Marriages down 43%, births 64% in Seoul over 20 years

By Park Han-na

Published : Dec. 16, 2021 - 09:10

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(Bonboo Entertainment) (Bonboo Entertainment)

In the past 20 years, the number of marriages in Seoul has decreased by 43 percent and the number of births by 64 percent, according to the Seoul Metropolitan Government on Thursday.

Marriage registrations in the capital city hit a 20-year low of 44,746 in 2020, down 43.2 percent from 78,745 tallied in 2000. From a year ago, the 2020 figure also represented a drop of 7.3 percent.

The average age of first marriages last year was 33.61 for men and 31.6 for women, up 3.96 years and 4.35 years from 2000, respectively, an analysis released by the city government based on state-run Statistics Korea’s demographic data between 2000 and 2020, showed.

Accordingly, the average age of the parents at their child’s birth increased from 29.49 in 2000 to 33.98. The average time it took for a couple to have their first child after marriage was 2.6 years.

Seoul also had significantly fewer babies born in 2020 than it had 20 years ago. This year, the capital is expected to record the first year in which its population naturally declines, meaning more deaths than births. In monthly statistics, a natural decline has already been observed since July.

“Considering the rapid population decline in other years and the decrease in monthly natural increase, Seoul is expected to enter into a natural decline in 2021 or close to zero natural increase,” the city government said.

The number of deaths was only 1,923 fewer than the number of births in 2020.

The number of births last year was 47,445, down 64.3 percent from 20 years ago. The total fertility rate, which was 1.28 in 2000, halved to 0.64 last year.

While the number of births has decreased, the number of deaths has been steadily increasing due to an increase in the aging population.

Last year, 45,522 people died in Seoul, a 4 percent increase from 2019.

The number of deaths of people aged 80 and over accounted for 45.7 percent of all deaths, an increase of 14 percentage points from 10 years ago and 20.9 percentage points from 20 years ago.

Cancer and circulatory system diseases accounted for half of the major causes of death last year. A total of 201 people died from COVID-19 in 2020.