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3800Babies born to unmarried women to top 10,000

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  • Sunny Jo
    Aug 27, 2012
    • 0 Attachment
      08-26-2012 18:40

      Babies born to unmarried women to top 10,000

      By Kim Bo-eun

      The number of babies born to unmarried women is expected to surpass
      10,000 this year after steadily increasing for some years, Statistics
      Korea said Sunday.

      The agency said 9,959 babies were born to single mothers last year, up
      3.3 percent, or 320 babies, from 2010.

      Last year's figure is the highest since 1981, when the government
      started keeping track of the numbers.

      "Although we cannot pinpoint a cause for the rise of babies born to
      single women, a shift seems to have taken place from the traditional,
      conservative perception of marriage," said a Statistics Korea

      Experts also view that the change in the perception of such children
      as well as efforts to reduce abortions -- which are technically illegal
      -- has played a role.

      Although the children are mostly born to single moms, a significant
      number also seem to have been born to unmarried couples who live
      together, experts said.

      The agency said approximately 2.1 babies per every 100 were born
      outside of marriage last year.

      The rate of such births to all newborn babies still remains the lowest
      among member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
      Development (OECD).

      Korea had the lowest such rate at 2.11 percent last year, followed by
      Japan. The average rate for OECD member states stood at 36.3 percent
      in 2009.

      Despite Korea's relatively low rate, it still sends some 1,000
      adoptees to foreign countries every year. It is the fourth largest
      "exporter" of babies to the United States.

      "It is important that the society embraces children born to various
      forms of families including single moms and unwed couples," said a
      researcher at Korea Development Institute.

      The number of babies born outside marriage fell to around 5,000 in
      1989 before surging to above 9,000 in 1994 and falling to a record low
      of 4,196 in 1997. Since 2003, the figure has shown steady growth, the
      agency said.