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South Korea’s president wants to form a new ministry to raise the birth rate

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South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol will establish a new ministry to bring up the country’s very low birth rate. Photo: Jeon Heon-kyn / Pool via AP / NTB

Of NTB | 05/09/2024 04:23:58

Social conditions: The birth rate, the world’s lowest, means that in the long term the country is faced with a violent wave of elderly people.

– I am asking the National Assembly for cooperation to reorganize the government and establish the ministry, Yoon said in a speech to the nation on Thursday.

South Korean women have never had as few children as last year, even though the country’s government has spent large sums on measures to encourage women to have more children and maintain a stable population. Life expectancy in the country is among the highest in the world.

The government has spent large sums to encourage people to have more children, including in the form of subsidies, babysitting services and support for assisted reproduction.

Still, the birth rate, the number of children a woman is expected to have in her lifetime, fell to 0.72 in 2023, down nearly 8 percent from 2022, according to preliminary figures from South Korean authorities. That is nowhere near the rate of 2.1 children per woman needed to maintain the current population of 51 million. At current rates, the population will be halved by 2100, experts estimate.

The birth rate is the lowest among the countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), while the average age at first birth is 33.6 years – the highest in the OECD.

(© NTB)

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