South Korea is one of those hardworking countries who worked long hours and gave both heart and soul to make this country standout as developed from the developing tag. But what they are facing now is a challenge they have not overcome in the past, low fertility rate it is. Up the latest, this ongoing year, the fertility rate is all set to hit new low, even below 1. As per the study commissioned by the Chosun Ilbo newspaper, the fertility rate this year is to be as low as 0.96.
This fertility rate can lead to consequences such as expanding debts, underfunded pensions and economic decline. It should be noted here that many of the developing countries see rising population as a serious challenge for their economy but here South Korea needs a big boom in its fertility rate and so in population.
A close insight tells that all this plight is majorly due to women not willing to have babies as they opt to remain more focus on their career instead. Being a patriarchal society, South Korea faces strong gender discrimination issues, which pushes women to think that being pregnant or having a baby can detrimental their career. The rising property prices and worsening job prospects for young people are also the active factors behind this trend on the rising.
The authorities in power spent 153tn won (£106bn) between 2006 and 2018 to encourage women to have more births but this still seems not enough for it. This big money was spent rigorously on paying cash payouts to women, child care service until age 5 and supporting youth clubs as well.
Commenting on this low fertility rate situation even getting worse in South Korea, Lee Chul-hee, an economics professor at Seoul National University said such low fertility situation is actually seen during the wartimes. “There’s definitely going to be a psychological shock among the Korean people,” he said. “It will likely influence what is considered to be an ideal number of children, and could lead to the rate dropping even further,” he further added.