When and how should we raise the declining birthrate?

It is not breaking news that Korea’s birth rate is declining. Her recently announced fertility rate for 2021 is her 0.81, again breaking the previous record for the country. Known to have at least her 2.1 fertility to sustain the current population, currently the average number of births per woman is less than her 1.

The declining birthrate is a result of people adapting to society, and I think it is a natural result, but too rapid a declining birthrate will cause new social problems. So the government is trying to raise it as much as possible.

Sejong City has once again attracted attention for its high birth rate. Last year he was 1.28. This is much lower than the 2.1 needed to maintain population, but much higher than other cities’ fertility rates. That’s double Seoul’s 0.63.

So what’s the difference between the two cities?

It is widely known that Sejong, an administrative city with government offices, has a high proportion of civil servants among its residents. Taking parental leave is relatively easy. I have seen cases of civil servants in my neighborhood taking childcare leave for many years, including childcare leave, going on to graduate school, and special leave for spouses overseas assignments.

In the private sector, on the other hand, when employees return from years of vacation, they will see a disadvantage, even if it is acknowledged. Civil servants have stable jobs, but may be dissatisfied with relatively low salaries compared to conglomerate workers.

Another difference is housing prices. Although prices have skyrocketed since the initial sales price, apartment prices in Sejong are far cheaper than those in the Seoul metropolitan area. The price of “Jeonse”, which returns the full amount, has been stable for many years.

With a one-time payment of KRW 200 million, newlyweds can live in a newly built three-room apartment for years without worrying about the high cost of housing. They stand in contrast to the young Seoul couples I know. They are delaying marriage and having children until they have saved enough to rent an apartment or pay off their mortgage.

A friend who recently returned to Seoul on business complained that her daughter’s school commute was not as safe as in Sejong. are designed to minimize , and businesses deemed harmful to students, such as bars, are not permitted near the school. On the other hand, in Seoul, her daughter has to drive through narrow alleys with bars and motels on her way to school.

I’m not saying Sejong is a perfect place. Seoul does not yet have the social infrastructure and vibrant energy of Seoul. A young government official said the place was “boring” and would change jobs in Seoul if given the chance. increase. Some parents leave and move to big cities in search of a good private school.

You can’t change everything. We can’t make everyone work for the government, and we can’t keep Seoul’s endless supply of new apartments and drive down housing prices. But you can start by alleviating the worries and burdens of some parents. For example, some local governments in Seoul operate “walking school buses.” This allows guides hired by local governments to accompany a small number of children to school on foot and get them safely to school.

Many parents want to send their children to “English Kinder Gardens”, private schools that hire native speakers from English-speaking countries. However, classes cost over $1,000 per month. Why won’t the government increase the number of English teachers in public kindergartens to ease the burden on parents?

If working moms have to quit their jobs because they can’t afford to hire nannies, why not allow them to hire foreign nannies? However, the birth rate continues to decline. A new approach must be taken.

) is the finance editor of The Korea Times. When and how should we raise the declining birthrate?

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