S Korea launches new team on population policy amid low birthrate

19 Jun 2023 02:10pm
Image for illustrative purposes only. - FILE PIX
Image for illustrative purposes only. - FILE PIX

SEOUL, South Korea - South Korea's presidential committee dedicated to addressing the aging society launched a policy planning team Monday, with the goal of strengthening inter-ministry ties on population policies amid the alarmingly low birthrate, Yonhap news agency reported.

The move came as South Korea's total fertility rate, the average number of children a woman bears in her lifetime, hit a record low of 0.78 in 2022, much lower than the replacement level of 2.1 that would keep South Korea's population stable at 51 million.

The Presidential Committee on Ageing Society and Population Policy noted the country is on course to enter a "super-aged" society in 2025, in which the proportion of seniors aged 65 and above hits 20 per cent of the total population.

The new team will be jointly led by the finance and health ministries, the committee added.

The team will review and promote policies that not only tackle the low birthrate and address the challenges posed by an aging society but also effectively handle the changes within the population structure.

"We plan to thoroughly analyse and cope with the social-economic impacts and risks of the changing population structure," First Vice Finance Minister Bang Ki Sun, the co-head of the division, said in a statement, noting the government will announce details of the policies under preparation down the road.

Only 21,138 babies were born in March this year, down 8.1 per cent from a year earlier, the latest government data showed last month. It marked the lowest number for any March since the statistics agency started compiling monthly data in 1981.

The number of babies born in South Korea has been falling on-year for 88 consecutive months.

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South Koreans aged 65 and above are set to make up 46.4 per cent of the total population in 2070, separate government data also showed last week. - BERNAMA

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