South Korea’s childbirth fell in January while aging is fast pacing

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This is particularly troublesome because it poses a serious threat to the economy: it means increased welfare and health spending but fewer workers.

While the rest of the world is trying to get their population under control, in South Korea they’re trying to figure out ways of to birthing more children.

A report from Yonhap News revealed that South Korea experienced decline in childbirths in January compared to last year.

“Last January, there were about 39,500 babies who were born. Compared to January 2015 which had 41,900, it decreased by 2,400 or 5.7 percent, said Statistics Korea. This year’s figures were the lowest for any January childbirth since 2001 when the statistical agency commenced compiling data,” said a JKNUS report.

According to Statistics Korea it is usual to have more newborns in January, but this year’s is the lowest ever recorded.

On top of the issue with low childbirth, the country also faces a rapidly aging society.

To be considered an aged society, the population of 65-year-olds and above has to reach 14% of its total population, and the government fears that the country is getting there.

This is particularly troublesome because it poses a serious threat to the economy: it means increased welfare and health spending but fewer workers.

The same JKNUS report said: “Data showed on Wednesday that the country is also a threshold of becoming an aged society as senior citizens who are 65 years and older occupy 13.1 percent of the 50.62 million population in 2015.”

As a counter measure, the South Korean government now actively encourages its people to have more children.

They will even reward those who would comply, with different incentives such as cash rewards.

For example, the situation in the Haenam an area at the southwestern tip of the country where the government’s efforts are starting to bear fruit from the government’s efforts.

“The county offers cash benefits like three million won or about $2,500 for the first child, 3.5 million won ($3k) for the second, six million won ($5,100) for the third and 7.2 million ($6,100) for the fourth and above, and it will be paid over 18 months and aside from the national childcare benefit of 200,000 won ($171) per month.”

The birth rate in the county is 2.4 children per woman—double of 2005’s national figure of 1.24 and the highest in South Korea.

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