Birth Rates in South Korea

Global Love Report – Jul 3rd, 2024
Summary by Margaret Wuwur

South Korea is tackling its lowest-in-the-world birthrate crisis with innovative measures, as local governments roll out unprecedented initiatives to spur marriages and boost the birthrate. North Gyeongsang Province and Seongnam are leading the charge with inventive matchmaking programs, such as North Gyeongsang’s Solo Village and Seongnam’s Solo Mon’s Choice, which offer workshops and social activities to facilitate connections among singles. 

These efforts come amidst a staggering decline in marriages, down 47% in North Gyeongsang alone over the past decade, and a record-low fertility rate now at 0.86 children per woman.

Meanwhile, Busan’s Saha District has taken a bold step by offering financial incentives directly tied to relationship milestones: participants receive 500,000 won (US$375) to begin dating and up to 20 million won (US$15,000) upon marriage, along with additional support like a deposit on a home or 800,000 won (US$600) per month to subsidize their rent for up to five years.

Despite these innovative approaches, critics argue that broader economic challenges such as high living costs and job insecurity remain pivotal factors influencing young adults’ decisions to postpone marriage and parenthood. As South Korea navigates these complex issues, the effectiveness of these initiatives continues to be scrutinized amidst the country’s pressing demographic concerns. Adding to the urgency, South Korea will launch a new ministry of population strategy to tackle the low birth rates and rapidly aging population, which have emerged as some of the country’s most pressing challenges.

 Sources by: The Korea Times & South China Morning Post