South Korea's population freefall

The country is spending billions of dollars to address the problem

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Published: Thu 23 Feb 2023, 7:42 PM

Last updated: Thu 23 Feb 2023, 11:37 PM

Recently, the Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had gone on record to it’s “now or never” — and he was referring to a reversal of his country’s falling fertility rate, which stands at 1.34 per woman, whereas the broad consensus is that a rate of 2.1 per woman ensures a stable population for a country.

And now, an even grimmer statistic has emerged with South Korea — one of the most prosperous countries in the world going by per capita GDP — recording the world’s lowest fertility rate in 2022 (breaking its own record of the previous year): at 0.78.

The country has been spending billions of dollars in an attempt to address this problem with sops such as childcare subsidies, and yet this alarming freefall continues.

A shrinking population is going to work against a country’s economic prospects, and many are attributing it to a bunch of new-age social issues (such as nuclear families, women not getting married or getting married later in life etc). While it is unrealistic to believe that eco-systems can be altered suddenly, what is intriguing is that state-sponsored benefits are not working to plan.

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