South Koreans are feeling a little bit better about the country, judging from population data released Wednesday. After two consecutive years of decline, the number of babies born in South Korea rose last year. And so did the country’s birth rate, as measured in the number of expected babies born per woman.
Overall, South Korea’s population rose by 215,000 people last year, Statistics Korea, the government’s data agency, said Wednesday. That brings the overall population to just under 50 million, though the country’s official census data for 2010 isn’t yet complete. The number of new babies in South Korea last year was 469,900, up 5.6% or about 25,000, from 2009.
The overall fertility rate, or the number of babies a woman is expected to have, jumped to 1.22 from 1.15 in 2009. The 2009 figure gave South Korea the worst birth rate among all developed countries, or those belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.