By Kim Bo-eun
South Korea's birthrate is the lowest among OECD member states, and also among the lowest in the world, according to The World Factbook of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
Korea's total birthrate stood at 1.25 last year, putting it 220th out of 224 countries on the list.
The total birthrate refers to the average number of children that a woman has or chooses to have over her lifetime.
The only countries with lower birthrates than Korea were Hong Kong (1.19), Taiwan (1.12), Macao (0.94) and Singapore (0.82).
The African country of Niger topped the list with a total birthrate of 6.62.
Among the 35 countries in the OECD, Israel had the highest rate at 2.66.
Women in Korea's neighboring states of Japan and China gave birth to more children than here, with rates of 1.41 and 1.6, respectively.
North Korea's total birthrate stood at 1.96, putting it at 125th place out of 224 countries.
South Korea's low figure is attributed to the high costs of child care.
According to a report published by the Korea Institute of Child Care and Education last month, households in Korea spend about a third of their total expenditure on their children.
It showed nine out of 10 parents feel burdened by childcare costs.
In another recent survey conducted by the same institution, 62.6 percent of the respondents in their 20s and 30s supported the idea that "it is better not to have children if one cannot raise them under financially abundant conditions," reflecting the strain of childcare costs.
In the same survey, 77.4 percent of respondents agreed "a happy marriage is possible without children" and 42.3 percent either believing having children is not a must or that it is better to not have children.