South Korea breaks its own record for world’s lowest fertility rate in 2022

Seoul, South Korea

South Korea’s fertility fee, already the world’s lowest, has dropped but once more within the newest setback to the nation’s efforts to spice up its declining inhabitants.

The nationwide statistics physique reported Wednesday that the fertility fee, or the common variety of kids anticipated per lady, fell to 0.78 in 2022 – down from 0.81 the earlier yr.

Nations want a fertility fee of two.1 to take care of a secure inhabitants, within the absence of immigration.

South Korea’s start fee has been falling since 2015 and the nation recorded extra deaths than births for the primary time in 2020, a development that has continued since.

In 2022, the nation recorded about 249,000 births and 372,800 deaths.

Related demographic declines are being seen in a number of different Asian nations together with Japan and China, elevating considerations there shall be too few folks of working age to help the ballooning aged inhabitants.

In the meantime, Korean ladies are additionally having kids later in life. The common age of childbirth in South Korea was 33.5 final yr.

Consultants say the explanations for these demographic shifts throughout the area embody demanding work cultures, stagnating wages, rising prices of residing, altering attitudes towards marriage and gender equality, and rising disillusionment amongst youthful generations.

However regardless of the financial elements at play, throwing cash on the downside has proved ineffective. Final September, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol admitted that greater than $200 billion has been spent making an attempt to spice up the inhabitants over the previous 16 years.

The South Korean authorities has launched varied initiatives reminiscent of extending paid paternity go away, providing financial “child vouchers” to new mother and father, and social campaigns encouraging males to contribute to childcare and home tasks.

However consultants and residents say extra help is required all through a baby’s life – in addition to change on a number of deep-rooted social points. For example, South Korean society nonetheless frowns on single mother and father, with IVF remedy not accessible to single ladies.

{Couples} in non-traditional partnerships additionally face discrimination; South Korea doesn’t acknowledge same-sex marriage and laws make it tough for unwed {couples} to undertake.

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