Volume 44 - Article 39 | Pages 941–978

Socioeconomic differentials in fertility in South Korea

By Sojung Lim

Print this page  Facebook  Twitter

 

 
Date received:10 May 2020
Date published:11 May 2021
Word count:7845
Keywords:education, family, fertility, gender, housing, inequality, Korea, labor market, nonstandard work, parity
DOI:10.4054/DemRes.2021.44.39
Weblink:You will find all publications in this Special Collection on Family Changes and Inequality in East Asia here.
 

Abstract

Background: South Korea has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world, reaching a record low of 0.98 in 2018. Understanding socioeconomic differentials in fertility in South Korea has become an important social and policy issue.

Objective: This study examines socioeconomic differentials in first and second childbirths among married women using various indicators of socioeconomic status at the individual and household level.

Methods: Using the Korean Labor and Income Panel Study (1998–2017), discrete-time hazard models are used to evaluate the relationships between multiple indicators of socioeconomic status and the transition to first and second births.

Results: Higher socioeconomic status (e.g., husband’s college education and standard employment, homeownership) is conducive to a transition to parenthood and second births. However, the wife’s employment ‒ standard employment in particular ‒ is negatively associated with both first and second childbirth. Among the indicators of socioeconomic resources, stable housing arrangements and the husband’s employment security appear to be the most important factors for a married couple’s fertility decisions.

Conclusions: Socioeconomically disadvantaged married couples tend to delay their transition to parenthood. In addition, those with high SES are more likely than their counterparts with low SES to have second births. If these patterns persist, they have important implications for the demographic process and social stratification.

Contribution: The findings of this study contribute to a comprehensive understanding of socioeconomic differentials in fertility in South Korea and therefore have important policy implications. These findings will also prove useful to other societies with very low fertility rates.

Author's Affiliation

Sojung Lim - Utah State University, United States of America [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» Educational differences in early childbearing: A cross-national comparative study
Volume 33 - Article 3

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

» Calloused hands, shorter life? Occupation and older-age survival in Mexico
Volume 42 - Article 32    | Keywords: education, gender, inequality

» Gender differences and similarities in the educational gradient in fertility: The role of earnings potential and gender composition in study disciplines
Volume 39 - Article 13    | Keywords: education, fertility, gender

» Who becomes a grandparent – and when? Educational differences in the chances and timing of grandparenthood
Volume 37 - Article 29    | Keywords: education, fertility, gender

» Childlessness and fertility by couples' educational gender (in)equality in Austria, Bulgaria, and France
Volume 37 - Article 12    | Keywords: education, fertility, gender

» Postponement and recuperation in cohort marriage: The experience of South Korea
Volume 35 - Article 35    | Keywords: education, fertility, Korea

Articles

»Volume 44

 

Citations

 

 

Similar Articles

 

 

Jump to Article

Volume Page
Volume Article ID