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Sex ratio in South Korea 2006-2016, by age group

The number of males per 100 females across South Korea has varied over time for each age group. In 2016, the 20 to 29-year-old age bracket had the highest gender imbalance with around 113.4 males per 100 females. For over 80-year olds, this ratio was the lowest at around 45 males per 100 females. When looking at the entire population, the gender ratio in South Korea is relatively balanced.

Gender re-balancing

The gender ratio has not always been as balanced as it is today. Over two decades prior, the ratio was around 116.5 males to 100 females. Traditional Korean values were responsible for this, as men were seen as more capable to support their families financially and to continue the family lineage. In order to combat this, a law was passed in 1988 preventing doctors from revealing the gender of a fetus to pregnant parents. Combined with progression in many other areas in life for women, including length of education and work opportunities, this led to South Korea becoming the "first Asian country to reverse the trend in rising sex ratios at birth".

Equality for all? While the sex ratio in the country is now relatively balanced, many women in South Korea still face discrimination in other areas of life. The labor market is one area which is not equal for men and women. The gender pay gap in South Korea is still prominent, with males earning significantly more than women. As of 2019, many South Koreans believed not enough was being done to achieve gender equality in business , which highlights the population’s willingness to overcome inequality in the country.

Number of males per 100 females in South Korea from 2006 to 2016, by age group

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Release date

November 2016


South Korea

Survey time period

2006 to 2016

Supplementary notes

Note: Figures from the year 2011 are based on projection.

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Statistics on "Demographics of South Korea"

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