South Korea takes steps to reverse low birth rates
Seoul – South Korea issued a raft of measures yesterday 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 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.
Seoul said yesterday it would expand child subsidies – of up to 300 000 won (about R3 800) a month – to the richest 10% of families.
From next year, parents with children younger than eight will be able to work one hour less each day to take care of their offspring. –