South Korea is­sued a raft of mea­sures on Fri­day to try to re­v­erse one of the world’s low­est birth rates, of­fer­ing po­ten­tial par­ents in­creased ben­e­fits as it faces a loom­ing pop­u­la­tion de­cline

The New Indian Express - - EDITORIAL -

Fer­til­ity rate fall­ing rapidly in East Asian na­tion

The coun­try’s fer­til­ity rate—the num­ber of chil­dren a woman is ex­pected to have in her life­time— fell to 0.95 in the third quar­ter, the first time it has dropped be­low 1 and far short of the 2.1 needed to main­tain stability

As a re­sult the pop­u­la­tion of the world’s 11th largest econ­omy, cur­rently 51 mil­lion, is ex­pected to start fall­ing in 2028. There are mul­ti­ple causes, in­clud­ing the ex­pense of child-rear­ing, long work­ing hours, and ca­reer set­backs for work­ing moth­ers, who bear a dou­ble bur­den of car­ry­ing out the brunt of house­hold chores, ac­cord­ing to AFP

Have chil­dren? Work one hour less ev­ery day

In its lat­est at­tempt to re­v­erse the de­cline, Seoul said Fri­day it would ex­pand child sub­si­dies—of up $270 a month—to the rich­est 10 per cent of fam­i­lies, who are cur­rently ex­cluded. The gov­ern­ment also said it would build more day­care cen­tres and kinder­gartens with the goal of en­abling 40 per cent of chil­dren to use them

From late next year, par­ents with chil­dren younger than eight will be able to work one hour less each day to take care of their off­spring, while paid pa­ter­nity leave en­ti­tle­ments will rise from three days to 10. But only 13 per cent of South Korean men take up the en­ti­tle­ment, with many fear­ing that do­ing so would raise ques­tions about their com­mit­ment to their em­ploy­ers

$121 bil­lion spent by the South Korean gov­ern­ment since 2005 to try to boost the birth rate, with­out suc­cess

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