South Korea considering £59k incentive for each child born amid declining birth rate

Programme will cost £12.9bn to the South Korean government

Shweta Sharma
Tuesday 23 April 2024 12:59 BST
Doctor performs abortion on the wrong woman in South Korea

South Korea is considering paying parents 100 million won (£59,000) in cash for each baby born in a bid to boost the country’s diminishing birth rate.

The South Korean government’s Anti-Corruption & Civil Rights Commission is holding a public survey to gauge the opinion of the people before it can be implemented.

The survey that began on 17 April will ask four questions to understand if they believe it is acceptable to spend 22 trillion won (£12.9bn) annually on the programme and if a financial incentive would motivate couples in the country to have children.

This amount accounts for approximately half of the current national budget allocated to initiatives addressing low birth rates, which totals 48tn won (£28bn) annually.

“Through this survey, we plan to re-evaluate the country’s birth promotion policies to determine whether direct financial subsidies could be an effective solution,” the commission said in a statement.

The South Korean government and policymakers have been striving to find new and innovative measures to address the crisis of dwindling child birth rates. The birth rates in the country dropped to 0.72 babies per woman in a lifetime in 2023, the lowest national birth rate.

The demographic crisis in the country is blamed on a number of factors but Korean couple’s frustrations with the rising cost of living and declining quality of life has been considered as the primary reason.

Under the government’s scheme to motivate parents, Korean couples receive financial assistance ranging from 35m won (£20,566) to 50m won (£29,380) through different incentive and support programs from the time of their child’s birth until they reach the age of 7.

It comes as the boss of a South Korean firm is offering employees up to £59,000 to have children and help lift the country’s birth rate. Booyoung Group, a construction firm based in Seoul, plans to pay employees 100m Korean won each time they have a baby.

It will also pay a total of 7bn Korean won (£4.2m) in cash to employees who have had 70 babies since 2021, the company added. The benefit is available to men and women, a company spokesperson said.

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