Korean J Pediatr.  2008 Mar;51(3):233-236. 10.3345/kjp.2008.51.3.233.

Changes in birth rates of low birth weight and premature infants in Korea over the past 7 years

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Konkuk University Hospital, Seoul, Korea. kmh@kuh.ac.kr


In recent years, Korea has experienced a steadily declining birth rate, which is a serious social problem in the country. Although living conditions have improved, the birth rates for low birth weight infants and preterm babies has increased because more and more women choose to give birth later in life and the social environment has changed. The rise in low birth weight infants may increase infant mortality rates and morbidity rates. However, the recent improvements in neonatal care has elevated the survival rate of low birth weight infants up to 90 percent and lowered the weight of the very low birth weight infants that can now be saved. In this study, we used dynamic population statistics from the Korea National Statistical Office, which represents the current trend of social stratification and the population of this period. We analyzed birth records for a seven-year period and studied the changes in the delivery rate of preterm and low birth weight infants and the problems related to those changes. The results show that the rate of low birth weight infants has increased from 3.79% to 4.35% for the past seven years. The rate of preterm babies rose from 3.79% to 4.89%. The number of babies born from mothers aged 35 or more went up from 6.69% to 11.83% of the total number of the babies born. As maternal age has risen, the risks of delivering a preterm or low birth weight infant have also increased.


Low birth weight infants; Premature infants; Birth rates; Maternal age

MeSH Terms

Birth Certificates
Birth Rate
Infant Mortality
Infant, Low Birth Weight
Infant, Newborn
Infant, Premature
Infant, Very Low Birth Weight
Maternal Age
Population Characteristics
Social Conditions
Social Environment
Social Problems
Survival Rate
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