Introduction Korea has witnessed a drastic decline in the level of fertility since the 1997 Asian economic crisis. The total number of births in 2005 was estimated as 438,000, revealing a 35.4 percent reduction from 678,000 births in 1997. The total fertility rate (TFR) was recorded at 1.08 in 2005, down from 1.54 in 1997 (KNSO, 2006a). The pace and extent of this ongoing decline in fertility are much greater than most demographers’ forecasts. According to the Population Reference Bureau (2006), the TFR of Korea is currently at the lowest level in the world except for Hong Kong (1.0) and Macau (0.8).