KIHASA in the News

South Korea in demographic crisis as many stop having babies

  • Media Date : 2022-11-24
  • News Media : AP News
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This is a copyrighted material of AP News.

Yoo Young Yi's grandmother gave birth to six children. Her mother birthed two. Yoo doesn’t want any. “My husband and I like babies so much … but there are things that we’d have to sacrifice if we raised kids,” said Yoo, a 30-year-old Seoul financial company employee. “So it’s become a matter of choice between two things, and we’ve agreed to focus more on ourselves.” There are many like Yoo in South Korea who have chosen either not to have children or not to marry. Other advanced countries have similar trends, but South Korea’s demographic crisis is much worse. South Korea’s statistics agency announced in September that the total fertility rate ― the average number of babies born to each woman in their reproductive years ― was 0.81 last year. That’s the world’s lowest for the third consecutive year. The population shrank for the first time in 2021, stoking worry that a declining population could severely damage the economy ― the world’s 10th largest ― because of labor shortages and greater welfare spending as the number of older people increases and the number of taxpayers shrinks. President Yoon Suk Yeol has ordered policymakers to find more effective steps to deal with the problem. The fertility rate, he said, is plunging even though South Korea spent 280 trillion won ($210 billion) over the past 16 years to try to turn the tide.

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