Declining fertility has occurred within both North and South Korea. The shifting fertility trends within both countries may have important implications upon their eventual reunification. Prior research has identified the demographic advantage of a relatively young population in relation to the actual German reunification in 1990. Conversely, demographers have identified a demographic disadvantage, in that the ratio of South to North Koreans is relatively low. This study reexamines whether changes in fertility levels in both Koreas have altered the demographic advantages and disadvantages highlighted in prior studies. The findings suggest that below replacement level fertility within the two Koreas as well as the relatively higher fertility in North Korea may not only erode the demographic benefit identified in the earlier study, but also exacerbate the demographic disadvantage. Thus, from a demographic standpoint, reunification at an earlier point in time may be more beneficial than at a later one.
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