Official data on Wednesday, showed that South Korea’s fertility rate dropped to a record low in 2022.
The official annual reading from the Statistics Korea, showed that the average number of expected babies per South Korean woman over her reproductive life fell to 0.78 in 2022, down from 0.81 a year earlier.
According to officials, the figure is the lowest among countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), which had an average rate of 1.59 in 2020, and far below 1.64 in the U.S and 1.33 in Japan the same year.
The government has failed to reverse the falling birth rate in spite of spending billions of dollars each year on childcare subsidies.
As of 2020, South Korea was the only country among the OECD members to have a rate below 1, giving it a shrinking population.
Being married is seen as a prerequisite to having children in South Korea, but marriages are also plunging in the country amid sky-high costs of housing and education.
The nation’s capital Seoul logged the lowest birth rate of 0.59. (NAN)