Tuesday, September 08, 2009

"Fertility rate boosted by immigrant women in rural South Jeolla county"

Following up on earlier posts about international marriage migration to South Korea, JoongAng Daily's reporters Hong Hye-jin and Lee Min-yong report that in at least some rural areas of the province South Joella, this migration seems to be boosting birth rates.

[A]lmost half of the newborn babies at Yeonggwang county hospital in South Jeolla are from international marriages.

Around 40 percent of the 10 to 15 babies born every month at this hospital each month come from Vietnamese, Mongolian, Philippine or Chinese mothers.

“Only five percent of all women delivering babies in the county were immigrants in 2003, but the number is growing steadily,” said Cho Jae-ki, an official at the hospital.

In 2000, the number of women immigrants in the county was 65 but that number was up to 220 by the end of last year.

[. . .]

“It is so admirable to see [female immigrants] giving birth in another country at an early age and getting used a life in Korea,” [Kim Sung-mi, 53, a maternity nurse at the hospital] said.

Statistics suggest that this county is doing better than the rest of the country in fertility rate.

Last year 452 babies were born in the county. Although this is admittedly a massive decrease since 1995, when 943 babies were born, last year’s number helped Yeonggwang rank in the top 13 cities, counties and districts nationwide in terms of fertility rate.

And whereas the national fertility rate was 1.19 in 2008, it was 1.54 for Yeonggwang County.

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