3800Babies born to unmarried women to top 10,000
- Aug 27, 201208-26-2012 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
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
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