Fertility Transition in South Korea, 1960–2005: Tempo Effect and Demographic Translation

Bongoh Kye, University of California, Los Angeles

I examine the fertility transition in South Korea, accounting for 'tempo effect' and 'demographic translation'. Korea transited from a high fertility country to a ‘lowest-low fertility’ country in less than a half century. Because of the importance of delayed marriage and childbearing to the fertility transition, period measures suffer from ‘tempo distortion’ and the discrepancy between period measures and cohort experience should be great (‘demographic translation’). Taking advantage of recent developments in formal demography, I use three alternative fertility measures (‘adjusted TFR’, Average Cohort Fertility, and Cross-sectional Average Fertility) that account for ‘tempo distortion’ and ‘demographic translation’. Comparison of these measures will answer the following questions: (1) how strong is the ‘tempo effect’?; (2) how much do the period measures deviate from cohort experience?; and (3) did cohort variation in fertility account for fertility transition in Korea?

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Presented in Poster Session 2