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  • Demographic Data of the Past Two Decades in Seoul: Marriages halved, Newborns Down 64%

  • Press Releases SMG 42
    • In 2020, the number of marriages registered in Seoul was 44,746, dropped by almost 50% compared to two decades ago
    • Newborns in 2020 were 47,445, decreased to a third of 2000
    • People aged 80 and over represented 45.7% of those who died of old age, increased by nearly two-fold compared to 20 years ago
    • The SMG will come up with tailored policy directions and strategies to deal with potential demographic risks

    SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, December 20, 2021 – The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) analyzed 20-year-long (2000 to 2020) census data of the Statistics Korea in an effort to get to grips with demographic changes of the city, most notably based on marriages, divorces, births, and deaths.

    The total number of marriages registered in Seoul was 44,746 in 2020. The marriage registration was declined by 7.3% from 48,261 tallied in 2019. Compared to 20 years ago in 2000 (78,745), the figures nosedived by 43.2%, hitting the record low.

    The average age at first marriage in 2020 was 33.61 for men and 31.60 for women, increased 3.96 years for men and 4.35 for women over the past two decades.

    In 2020, there were 16,282 divorce cases, down by 4.1% from 16,972 in 2019. The annual average number of divorces since 2000 was 22,390. In Seoul, it peaked at 32,499 in 2003 and decreased consecutively.

    Seoul had 47,445 newborns in 2020, which was decreased by 11.6% (-6,228) from 2019 and 64.3% (-85,709) from 2000.

    As the number of newborns dropped, so did the total fertility rate. In 2020, the total fertility rate stood at 0.64, almost halved from 1.28 in 2000.

    *Total Fertility Rate: the average number of children that are expected to be born to a woman in their childbearing age (aged 15 to 49)

    As people are getting married at a later age, the average age of a mother giving birth to a child it rising. In 2020, the average age was 33.98, up by 4.49 years compared to 29.49 in 2000.

    According to the analysis, it takes more than two years for newlyweds to have their first child after the wedding. Last year, they turned out to spend 2.6 years on average, taking 0.1 more year on year and 0.6 more year compared to a decade ago in 2010.

    In 2020, 45,522 Seoul citizens passed away, up by 4.0% from 1,693 in 2019. The average number of people died since 2000 is 40,749, and the figures are increasing every year due to the city’s aging population.

    People aged 80 and over represented 45.7% of those who died in 2020, up 14.0%p compared to 2010 and 20.9%p to 2000.

    As the average age of death increases, so does life expectancy. It was 79.8 in 2005, 82.0 in 2011, and 84.8 in 2020. Also, women’s life expectancy is five to six years longer than the men’s.

    【Natural Decrease of Population in Seoul】
    After recording 10 million in 1988, the number of Seoul citizens fell below the 10 million mark in 2020. Therefore, a natural decline of population is expected in 2021.

    The natural decrease of population happens when the number of newborns exceeds the number of people died. In 2020, 47,445 babies were born in Seoul, while 45,522 people died, leading the capital to a natural decrease (1,923).

    In Seoul, the natural decrease of population was first detected in December 2018. Then it appeared in October in 2020 and July in 2021, according to the SMG’s monthly demographic analysis. Considering the bigger width and early appearance of population decline compared to previous years, Seoul is expected to have no natural increase or a natural decrease in 2021.

    The rapid shrinking of the population and demographic changes will influence welfare policies and the entire city administration encompassing social, economic, and urban environmental planning.

    “The SMG is running a dedicated task force from July to cope with structural imbalances caused by rapid demographic changes. We will use the recent census analysis to prepare demographic strategies at the city level,” commented Park Jong-Soo, Director General of Smart City Policy Bureau.