onsdag 28. februar 2024

South Korea’s fertility rate sinks to record low despite $270bn in incentives

South Korea’s demographic crisis has deepened with the release of data showing its birthrate – already the world’s lowest – fell to a new record low in 2023, despite billions of dollars in government schemes designed to persuade families to have more children. Reports that South Korea’s population had shrunk for the fourth straight year came soon after neighbouring Japan reported a record decline in its population last year, along with a record fall in the number of births and the lowest number of marriages since the end of the second world war.

The average number of children a South Korean woman has during her lifetime fell to 0.72, from 0.78 in 2022 – a decline of nearly 8% – according to preliminary data from Statistics Korea, a government-affiliated body. The rate is well below the average of 2.1 children the country needs to maintain its current population of 51 million.

Since 2018, South Korea has been the only member of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) to have a rate below 1. In addition, South Korean women give birth for the first time at the average age of 33.6 – the highest among OECD members.