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South Korean Birth Rate Keeps Dropping Despite Government Efforts

Believe it or not, not everyone wants to have children. In fact, birth rates seem to be declining in multiple parts of the world. There are a number of reasons as to why this is happening. It could be because women are more focused on their careers, couples prefer pets over kids, or for the simple fact that they don't want to be a parent. While you should live your life the way you want to, the knowledge of birth rates declining has some countries on edge.

That is the case over in South Korea, where their birth rates are among the lowest around the world. The country's fertility rate fell to just 0.98 percent in 2018, lowering the number of expected babies per woman from 1.05 percent back in 2017. The latter rate was already considered to be quite low when compared to other countries like Israel (3.11 percent), France (1.86 percent), and Japan (1.43 percent).

Back in South Korea, the number of born just last year decreased at 8.7 percent from a year earlier. That's following previous declines in the same rate of 11.9 percent and 7.3 percent respectively over the two years before. Needless to say, it's clear that fewer and fewer people in this country are having babies for one reason or another.

via The Economist

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Certain places in South Korea were worse for fertility rates. Sejong was noted to be the only city in the entire country to see an increase in babies in 2018. The fertility rate there was 1.57 percent. On the other side of things, the country's capital city, Seoul, had the lowest fertility rate at a mere 0.76 percent.

The crazy thing is, South Korea's government had previously implemented several incentives to encourage its citizens to have children. Such incentives include subsidized childcare leave; government-trained and subsidized babysitters; free nurseries; and cash stipends from their municipal governments. Specifically, in Seoul, South Korea, their city government introduced what was referred to as a “baby celebration package”. It's said to be worth about 100 000 won, or $82 USD. There are 51 options for families to pick and choose from- including baby carriers and breast pumps, just to name a couple.

It's also worth noting that people in South Korea seem to want to start families later on in life. The average age that a woman gives birth there rose to 32.8 years old in 2018. That's a minor increase from 30.8 years old about 10 years ago, but it's still important. Moreover, South Korea's statistics office’s data discovered that babies are being born more by mothers in their late 30s than they are in their late 20s.

With that last fact in mind, perhaps young people in South Korea are waiting to start a family when they're older. Then again, there could be others who simply don't want to ever have kids. Regardless of the reasons, it will be quite interesting to see if this decline in the birth rate continues for South Korea, or if it will eventually increase.

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