High house prices, job instability, South Korea’s fertility rate hit new global low

BEIJING, March 28 (Xinhua) — South Korea’s fertility rate continued to fall to 0.88 in the third quarter of this year, setting a new global record for the lowest fertility rate after it fell below 1 in 2018, according to the latest fertility statistics released Wednesday by the Country’s Statistics Office. The third-quarter fertility figures not only set the lowest quarterly figures for South Korea, but also set a global record of 0.98 for 2018.

High house prices, job instability, South Korea's fertility rate hit new global low

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South Korea’s fertility rate was the world’s lowest in 2017 at 1.05, compared with 1.43 in neighbouring Japan, 1.86 in France and 3.11 in Israel in 2017.

As one of the fastest-growing countries in the global economy, South Korea spends billions of dollars a year to encourage fertility to reverse the decline in fertility, such as the provision of child-care subsidies, cash subsidies, free nurseries, and government training and the provision of nannies.

However, the Government’s efforts do not seem to have paid off. In 2018 and 2017, the annual decline in the number of newborns in Korea was 8.7% and 11.9%, respectively. The decline in the number of newborns continued in the first two years through September 2019, with a 7.9% decrease in the number of newborns compared to the same period last year.

Seoul, the South Korean capital, had a national record of 0.69 in the third quarter. The highest fertility rate is 1.34 in Sejong, a region where many government departments are located.

The Korea Statistics Office’s survey report pointed out that rising house prices and job instability are the main reasons for the country’s low fertility rate.

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