Korean J Prev Med.  1992 Sep;25(3):312-329.

Regional Variations in the Cesarean Section Rate and It's Determinants in Korea

  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Korea.


The purpose of this study is to estimate cesarean section rate in Korea and analyze the socioeconomic variables and health resources which affect regional variation in the rate. Samples were drawn from the record of vaginal and cesarean section deliveries based upon insurance claim bills which have been submitted to the National Federation of Medical Insurance for the first three months, January through March, 1991. The results are obtained as follows: It was found that, cesarean section rate was increasing rapidly up to 23.1% in 1991. Cesarean section per 10 thousand insured people was 4.8 and the number of cesarean section per 10 thousand insured eligible(15-49 years old) female was 7.6. The fee for normal delivery was 109,489 won and that for cesarean section was 390,024 won. The average days of hospitalization in normal delivery was 2.3 days, and those in cesarean section was 7.6 days. On the average cesarean section has a longer of stay as much as by 4.3 days and cost 3.6 times more than normal deliveries. Cesarean section rates vary among medical facilities: 19.8% at clinics 37.6% in small-scale hospitals, and 29.1% in general hospitals. The regional variation of cesarean section rates was also fairly prominent. The South Cheju Gun has the highest rate of cesarean section, 56.2%. Meanwhile no cesarean section cases has been reported in Sunchang Gun during the period of this study. The variation is noted among provinces. The rate for Cheju province has been 3.4 times higher than that for Chunnam. The number of cesarean section per 10 thousand insured people vary greatly among regions, too. This study has found that there exists significant regional variations among various geographic units in terms of average length of stay, average cost, number of obsretricians and number of beds. Multiple regression analysis was done to identify factors explaining the regional variance of various cesarean section rates: In the urban areas, no significant explaining variables were noted except the number of beds for the dependent variable of cesarean section cases per 10 thousand insured eligible females. The smaller the number of bed, the more cases of cesarean section was noted for an urban area. The is mostly because the rate of cesarean section is higher in medium-size hospitals than in large general hospitals. In the rural areas, the factor of education has been found significant for all three dependent variables. The higher the educational level, the rate of cesarean section is most likely to rise. An income variable measured by the amount of monthly insurance contribution has been identified a powerful predictor in explaining the variance of cesarean section rates. The same has been noted for the number of obstetricians. Similar findings are observed for the country as a whole. The income level has been found as the most powerful explaining factor in the regional variance of cesarean section rates. In general the rate is higher in the urban areas, and lower in the area with more small hospitals. As this is the initial attempt to identify the factors relevant to the regional difference in the rates of cesarean section, more elaborated study is urgently required.


Cesarean section rate; Regional variation; Determinants of regional variation

MeSH Terms

Cesarean Section*
Fees and Charges
Health Resources
Hospitals, General
Length of Stay
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