Lowest-low fertility in the Republic of Korea: Causes, consequences and policy responses.

Eun KS
Asia-Pacific Population Journal. 2007 Aug; 22(2):51-72.

Lowest-low fertility appeared quite suddenly in the Republic of Korea although fertility has consistently declined for several decades. Demographers in the mid-1990s could not have predicted that fertility would fall so rapidly to such levels. Interestingly, the pace of the decline accelerated after the region-wide economic crisis in 1997. Not only did fertility but also other indicators related to fertility and the family adjusted suddenly and significantly after the country had passed through the crisis. The present article aims to explain why lowest-low fertility appeared in the Republic of Korea in the late 1990s. The author approaches the recent fertility decline from a broader perspective that considers the traditional and cultural legacies which affect the everyday life of ordinary citizens. Finally, this article presents and discusses the latest population policies proposed by the Government of the Republic of Korea. (excerpt)

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