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South Korea, the lowest in birth rate, falls below 250,000 births per year

It is highly likely that the number of births last year will fall below 250,000 for the first time ever. The demographic crisis facing South Korea, which has the lowest birth rate in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), is expected to become more pronounced.

In order to solve the problem of low birth rate, it is pointed out that active support measures are needed to protect young people during their family formation period.

According to the National Statistical Office's "November 2022 Population Trends" on the 29th, the number of births between January and November of last year was 231,863, a decrease of 4.7% (11,520) from a year ago. Considering the trend toward a further decrease in the number of births at the end of the year, the number of annual births last year is expected to fall below 250,000 for the first time ever.

An official from the National Statistical Office predicted, "November and December usually have a small number of births, so if the current trend continues, there is a possibility that the total number of births last year will fall below 250,000."

In November of last year, the number of births was 18,982, the lowest ever since monthly statistics began to be compiled. It is the fifth time in history that the number of monthly births has fallen below 20,000.

The number of babies born in December is likely to be lower than this. This is because December has shown the lowest number among monthly birth statistics since 2015. It is expected to decrease from the number of births (17,100) in December 2021, the previous year.

The number of annual births has been steadily declining since the first 400,000 people were broken in 2017 (357,771 people). After passing 326,822 in 2018 and 302,676 in 2019, 272,337 in 2020 and 260,562 in 2021, reaching the 200,000 level.

Korea's total fertility rate is 0.81 as of 2021, the lowest in the OECD. It is the only member country to have less than one member. The National Statistical Office predicted that the total fertility rate would fall to the 0.7 level last year. According to the '2020-2070 Future Population Estimate', the total fertility rate expected by the National Statistical Office last year was 0.77. From 2006 to last year, the government invested 280 trillion won in response to the low birth rate, but reported that the effect was limited.

Cash-based countermeasures for low birth rates have been put forward, such as paying parents' wages of 350,000 to 700,000 won per month to families raising children aged 0 to 1 and extending the period of parental leave from 1 year to 1 year and 6 months, but a mid- to long-term solution is far away. Experts point out that the government is taking a back seat in coming up with a preemptive solution to respond to the low birth rate. The Low Fertility and Aging Society Committee was created from the participatory government, but the low birth rate did not become a priority due to other pending issues. Yu Gye-suk, a professor of child and family studies at Kyunghee University, suggested that active policy support for the generation entering the family formation period should be implemented before any other policy. Professor Yu said, "Policies that can protect young people during their family formative years must be supported first. Childcare support and parental allowance are all important, but if we don't focus on the low birth rate issue now, the next generation will be able to bear the burden (the elderly population). It reached an unprecedented level,” he said. [Newsis]

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