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Bogeon sahoe nonjib. 1991 Dec;11(2):114-31.

Sex ratio at birth in Korea.



Koreans exhibit a strong son preference, and there has been a rapid decline in fertility rates in Korea since 1960. Vital statistics data from 1979-88, population and housing census data from 1970-90, and national fertility surveys of 1985 and 1988 form the basis for this study of sex ratios at birth in Korea. The sex ratio is examined in light of sociodemographic effects, and the effect on population structure. Problems were encountered because of incomplete registration of births, imprecise determination of a normal range for the sex ratio at birth, and difficulty in identifying socioeconomic impact. The sex ratio at birth in favor of the male has increased since 1981 to 113.6 in 1988. Birth order is related to the sex ratio; i.e., there is an increasing excess of male births with higher parity. In 1988, the sex ratio was 170.5 at the third birth and 199.1 at the fourth birth. Since more than 50% of births are first parity births, the impact on the total sex ratio is minimal. The large imbalance in 1988 is in contrast to the reverse trend in 1972-80. The sex ratio at birth and the age of the mother are positively related. There are inconsistencies in the age group 15-19 and 40 years. Where there are more traditional areas which show son preference, such as in Daegu City and Gyongbuk, there were very high sex ratios in 1985 and 1988. Total fertility has declined from 4.7 in 1971 to 2.7 in 1982 and 1.63 in 1990, due primarily to socioeconomic development. 50.1% of women reported that a son was either essential or better. Son preference is high in all age and educational groups. 67.4% desired a son if it was an only child, 28.3% preferred a son, and 66.5% had no preference. Childbearing would cease if the first child was a son, but parents would have one more child in an attempt to have a son, if a daughter was first born. Ultrasound testing involved 3.9% of a sample population, and 1.2% of latest pregnancies, of which 31% were aborted females. Abortion of female pregnancy occurs because of son preference. The sex ratio is expected to remain uniform until 2020 when population is projected at age 0 assuming a sex ratio of 107. The school age and marriageable population would reflect this imbalance. The sex ratio of the marriageable would increase to 113.7 between 2010 and 2019.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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