2. To Overcome Low Birthrate Crisis
KOREA REPORT(2017 NO.4)
To Overcome Low Birthrate Crisis
2. Holistic and ground-breaking countermeasures are necessary to overcome low-birthrate crisis.
□ The numbers of birth and marriage hit the lowest record in the first half of 2017.
○ On August 23, National Statistics Office announces the demographic trends of June, 2017.
- The number of children born in June was 28,900, dropping by 4,000 (-12.2%) from
the same month last year. It was the lowest record since the NSO began collecting
the data in 2000.
- The total number of children born between January and June 2017 was 188,500,
dropping by 26,500 (-12.3%) from last year, hitting the lowest record.
○ The population of women in their 30s declined, and the low marriage rate is likely to
continue in the future.
- The most significant factor of low birthrate is the declining female population
in their early 30s, and if this trend is to continue, the number of birth would not only
reach last year's record (400,000) but it could reach the ceiling at 360,000.
- The number of marriage registered in June was 22,300, dropping by 2,000 (-8.2%)
since the previous month. The total number of marriage between January and June 2017
was 138,000, dropping by 4.2%, hitting the lowest records.
- At this year's rate, Korea could face the population peak in 2022, ten years faster than
□ The deterioration of fertility rate was brought about by economic problems
as well as the changing values.
○ Socio-economic difficulties among the young generation hinder marriage and hildbearing.
- The young generation considers ‘economic stability’ (77.7%), ‘reformation of corporate
culture that appropriates balanced work and family life’ (34.4%), 'sharing of housework
and child-care with the spouses' (32.2%), and 'safe child-care facilities' (15.4%) as the
important socio-economic issues (Korea Institute of Childcare and Education, 2016).
- The previous governments has carried out variety of countermeasures, from First Basic
Agenda for Low-Birth Rate and Aging (2006-2010) to Third Agenda (2016-2020),
spending over KRW 100 trillion, but have seen little improvement.
This is because the countermeasures for low birthrate were carried out in the forms of
university reforms and overseas job-placement projects, deviating from more practical,
○ It is necessary to elucidate the changes in values among the young generation,
for whom 'marriage and childbearing are not necessity but matters of choice.'
- Only 50% think that it is necessary to get married (64.7% in 2010 → 51.9% in 2016,
Social Indicator of Korea, 2016).
- 76.2% of young generation agree that “not all married couple must have children”,
while 42.9% said it is “desirable to have children”, and only 14.8?lieved that
they must have children (Korea Institute of Childcare and Education, 2016).
- Unless the government is able to establish appropriate measures to incorporate the
changing perceptions among the younger generation, who are not bound by traditional
values and instead value self-fulfillment, such tendency is not likely to change.
□ The government must propose holistic and ground-breaking measures
to prevent further population decline and overcome low birthrate.
○ In dealing with the issue of low-birthrate, the Moon Jae-in government proposed
‘government's responsibility on child-care and education’ as national agenda.
- The government will provide child-care subsidies starting in 2018, and proposed to
raise the utilization rate of public child-care facilities to 40% by 2022.
- In order to promote work-family balance, the government will introduce new measures,
such as doubling the allowance for child-care leave, introducing child-care leave bonus
system for fathers, and providing subsidies for the reduction of working hours.
○ To encourage marriage and having children, the government must carry out
drastic reform, and it is necessary to propose comprehensive measures that
centers on women's 'self-fulfillment.'
- As the traditional values are no longer viable in encouraging women to give births,
makeshift measures will not lead to the improvement of birthrate.
- Some OECD countries have succeeded in improving fertility rates through drastic
investment on family and childbearing and guaranteeing the women's self-fulfillment
(expanding women's economic activities, redressing work-family balance, etc.),
as well as building the social consensus accepting of various forms of families.
- Focusing on the young generation, particularly on women, it is necessary to provide
macroscopic countermeasures (reduction of working hours, achieving equality
in working conditions, reform on education system) as well as those that promote the
understanding toward various forms of family (from improvement of the child-care
service system to providing support for single-parent families, etc.).