Faced with a declining birth rate, Korea’s government is now offering cold, hard cash to couples to make more babies.
This comes at a time when not only Korea, but much of the developing world, is seeing a decrease in the number of births due to a combination of economic and social factors. In a nutshell, it’s become very expensive even to raise one child in Korea, let alone two or three; women are waiting longer to have children; and a small but growing number of couples are opting to avoid the pressures of raising children altogether.
Indeed, in hyper competitive Korea, raising even one child means giving up any and all free time and living the next eighteen years as an obsessed helicopter parent, as well as spending dump trucks full of cash to pay for kids’ after school tutoring sessions. Women have to quit their jobs in most cases, since there are not a wide variety of child care options.
Korean kids don’t go to school a few hours a day and then go out and play for the rest of the day. Korean kids live, eat and breath schoolwork – and mom is constantly hovering overhead to make sure her child spends every waking moment studying. That not only takes a toll on kids, but on moms as well. And its one of many reasons Koreans are having fewer children now.
The nation’s fertility rate now stands at 1.25 children per woman, which is low by global standards.
That’s why the nation’s government has started an initiative to offer financial incentives to have more children, out of fears that a lower fertility rate will have long term negative economic impacts on the nation, and the government wants to boost the rate to 2.1 children per woman.
The Korean publication Koreaboo reported that the government is offering cash incentives to parents with more than 1 child, although the report didn’t mention why the government’s focus is on parents with one child as opposed to couples without children.
In addition, the government is designating the third Wednesday of every month “family day.” That means that offices are supposed to shut their doors at 7pm, in a country where much of the workforce regularly works late into the evening.
Aside from Korea, a number of other nations worldwide are offering cash to couples to reproduce, amid slipping birthrates in those countries. Those include Japan, Russia, Romania, Denmark, Singapore, Italy Hong Kong and Spain.
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