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South Korea to establish new ministry to address plummeting birth rates

The country has one of the world's lowest birth rates and one of the longest life expectancies, which presents a looming demographic challenge.

News Arena Network - Seoul - UPDATED: May 8, 2024, 07:44 PM - 2 mins read

South Korea to establish new ministry to address plummeting birth rates

South Korea to establish new ministry to address plummeting birth rates

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South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol suggested creating a new ministry to address the country's low birthrate, the world's lowest, as the country faces a looming demographic crisis.

 

"I ask the parliament's cooperation to revise government organisation to set up the Ministry of Low Birth Rate Counter Planning," he said in a live address to the nation. 

 

According to official data, South Korea's birth rate hit a record low last year despite the government's efforts to encourage women to have more children. The country has one of the world's lowest birth rates and one of the longest life expectancies, which presents a looming demographic challenge.

 

Statistics Korea's preliminary data from February 2023 revealed that the fertility rate in South Korea, which is the number of children a woman is expected to have in her lifetime, dropped to 0.72. This represents a decline of nearly eight per cent from the previous year.

 

This is far below the 2.1 children needed to maintain the current population of 51 million, which experts estimate will nearly halve by the year 2100 at these rates.

 

South Korea's 0.72 birth rate is the lowest among OECD nations, while the average age to give birth is 33.6, the highest in the OECD. 

 

Despite the government's efforts to encourage more babies by spending vast amounts on cash subsidies, babysitting services and support for infertility treatment, the birth rate in the country has continued to decline. 

 

Yoon, who recently suffered a sweeping defeat in the general elections, commented on the birth rate ministry before his first press conference in nearly two years.




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