The birth rate in South Korea dropped to 0.95 children per woman in the third trimester of 2018, descending for the first time below the number 1, and far below the 2.1 needed to renew the older generations.
Due to this tendency, called the “birth strike”, the population of the 11th largest economy in the world, with 51 million inhabitants, should begin to decrease in 2028. To explain this plague of dropping birth rates, experts allege reasons such as the education of children, the high unemployment rates among the young generations, and women’s jobs.
In this context, the South Korean government has spent 136 billion wons – the equivalent of 121 million dollars – since 2005 to increase the birth rate, mainly by means of campaigns intended to encourage young people to marry and found families, but all to no avail.
This pro-birth policy raised family benefits to 300,000 wons – 270 dollars – a month, and authorized companies to give extra time to parents of children under the age of eight so that they can take care of their children.
The newspaper Korea Times regrets that these measures have had so few results, since they are not legally binding, and calls upon the Blue House to attack the true factors pushing women to flee marriage and motherhood.
What the newspaper fails to mention is the plague of illegal abortion that, while still theoretically forbidden, is rarely punished; every year, estimates say 500,000 children are not allowed to live – a demographic deficit that threatens the future of a country that had a population of 51.47 million in 2017.