- BBC World News
For the first time in its history, South Korea recorded more deaths than births in 2020, an alarming figure for this country, which has the lowest birth record in the world.
Solo 275,800 babiesand were born last year, which represents a 10% decrease compared to 2019, and 307,764 people died.
These figures prompted the Interior Minister to call for “fundamental changes” in the country’s policies.
A decline in population puts immense pressure on a country.
In addition to the increased pressure on public spending as the demand on the systems of health and pensions, a young population in decline also leads to a labor shortage which has a direct impact on the economy.
Last month, President Moon Jae-in launched a series of policies aimed at solving the low birthrate problem, including cash incentives for families.
Under this scheme, from 2022, each child born will receive a $1,850 cash bonus, to help cover prenatal expenses, plus a monthly payment of about US $300 until the baby is one year old.
This pay will increase to US $460 per month starting in 2025.
The reasons behind the decline
The drop in the birth rate is largely due to the fact that, in South Korea, women have difficulty reaching a balance between work and other demandsexplains Julie Yoon of the BBC’s Korean Service.
Hyundai Kim is one of them. The oldest of four children, she dreamed of having a large family.
But given the conditions in her country, which are not favorable for having a large family, she is reconsidering her plan to have children.
She recently took a new job and it made her anxious about taking maternity time.
“People tell me it is safer to build my career first,” he tells the BBC.
The rise in the property prices is another major problem.
Kim says this also discourages young couples.
” To have children, you have to have your own home. But this has become an impossible dream in Korea.”
Kim is also not convinced by the incentives the government is offering.
“Raising a child is expensive,” he says, and the government providing them with an additional sum of money is not going to solve the problem.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.