South Korea has once again registered the lowest fertility rate in the world, with the number reaching a new low.
In 2018, the country’s fertility rate fell below one kid per woman for the first time.
On Wednesday, however, the government revealed that the figure had fallen to 0.81, down three points from the previous year and marking the sixth straight dip.
Comparatively, the average rate in the world’s most developed economies is 1.6%.
Without immigration, countries require at least two children per couple, or a birth rate of 2.1%, to maintain the same population size.
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), fertility rates have “markedly dropped” in the past six decades.
However, the tendency has been most prominent in South Korea, where family numbers have decreased over the course of several generations. Beginning in the 1970s, women had an average of four children.
A dwindling population can place an enormous load on a nation. In addition to increasing pressure on public expenditures as demand for healthcare systems and pensions rises, a shrinking youth population also results in labor shortages that hurt the economy.
In 2020, when South Korea for the first time recorded more deaths than births, there was considerable worry.
In recent years, economic demands and job considerations have been major factors in determining whether or not to have children, according to experts.
A crisis is imminent. If South Korea’s population continues to decline, there will not be enough people to expand its economy, care for its aging population, and enlist soldiers.
Politicians have known this for years but have been powerless to prevent it. They have spent billions of dollars attempting to induce individuals to have children, and they are still baffled as to why their efforts have failed.
South Korean women are highly educated, but they are not treated equally in the workplace. The country has the largest gender wage disparity among developed nations. In South Korea, women are still responsible for the majority of housework and child care, and it is usual for women to cease working after having children or for their careers to stagnate.
Fundamentally, many women in this country are still compelled to choose between a profession and a family. They are increasingly deciding that they do not wish to sacrifice their careers.
According to one mother, “we are on a baby-making strike.”