S.Korea's Yoon calls for efforts to tackle falling birthrate

December 26, 2023, 7:41 pm

<p> South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol</p>

 South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol

ISTANBUL– South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol on Tuesday called for “extraordinary determination” to tackle the country’s falling birthrate.

“Time is running short. I hope that every government agency approaches the issue of low birthrates with extraordinary determination,” Seoul-based Yonhap News quoted Yoon as telling his Cabinet.

Urging officials to approach the issue from a “fundamentally different perspective,” Yoon called for “effective solutions” to the declining birthrate, given that South Korea has the lowest birthrate in the world.

The steady population decline has caused worry among policymakers, as the country’s fertility rate was recorded at its lowest 0.7 in the third quarter of this year.

“The rate is significantly below the replacement level of 2.1, which is necessary to maintain the population stability at 51 million,” the news agency reported.

Pointing to “intense competition” in areas like education as one of the causes behind the falling birth rate, Yoon said: “The issue of low birthrates requires us to take the situation more seriously and contemplate the causes and solutions from a different dimension than before.”

South Korea has seen a steady decline in new births despite spending about USD200 billion over the last 16 years to promote population growth.

In its recent report, the World Economic Forum warned that if the current low birth rate continues, the East Asian nation "will be less than half what is now by the end of the century."

South Korea had an all-time low birthrate for the third consecutive year in 2022, with only 249,000 babies born in the country, resulting in a further 4.4% decline in population from the previous record low in 2021, according to Statistics Korea.

The data showed that the average woman gave birth to her first child at the age of 33 last year, followed by 34.2 and 35.6. (Anadolu)