South Korea And Japan Are Facing Serious Population Crises

( – There are approximately 8 billion people on Earth, with 4.3 births expected every second. In some countries, however, the birth rate is on a steady decline, which has led some officials to try multiple avenues to increase it. Japan and South Korea are among the populations experiencing the most crises.

The fertility rate is the average number of children a woman will give birth to in her lifetime. Japan’s rate in 2023 was 1.26, a 0.06 decline from 2022. In South Korea, which has the world’s lowest birth rate, things are even more dire. In 2022, that figure sat at 0.78. Now, it’s 0.72 and is expected to drop even further to 0.68 in 2024. In Seoul, it’s already at 0.55. Experts believe that the rate needed to replace the dying population is 2.1, which creates a large gap in both Asian countries.

The aging population, those 65 and older, is 30% and 18% in Japan and South Korea, respectively. With more people aging and not enough births to sustain the population, there are bound to be economic fallouts. This is particularly true with the pension systems and public services, because there will be less money coming in than there is going out.

The stigma around women giving birth is also declining. According to a Pew Research survey, roughly three in 10 adults say women are obligated to bear children. Approximately 66% say it’s the woman’s choice.

That hasn’t stopped South Korea from spending billions on initiatives trying to encourage women to have more babies. Some companies — where women are very much overlooked for promotions and make only two-thirds of what their male counterparts do — are offering incentives. The Lotte Group, for example, is offering family-friendly policies that include a free family vehicle that can seat seven to nine people. Booyoung, a construction and housing group, has offered employees a $75,000 bonus for each new child they bring into the world. That has set the company back $5 million, as 66 of its employees took advantage of it.

Copyright 2024,