S. Korea to see negative growth in 2050 if low fertility rate continues

by IANS |

Seoul, Dec 3 (IANS) South Korea is set to report negative economic growth in 2050 if the country fails to reverse its accelerating birth-rate decline, the central bank said on Sunday.

The country's total fertility rate -- the number of children, on average, that a woman aged 15-49 has during her lifetime -- plunged to 0.81, the lowest level among the 35 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries in 2021, according to a report released by the Bank of Korea (BOK).

Among 217 countries and regions, including the OECD member nations, Korea marked the second-lowest birth rate after Hong Kong with 0.77, the BOK report said.

Korea was top among the 217 nations in the pace of birth-rate decline from 1960 to 2021, plunging 86 percent from 5.95 to 0.81 during the cited period, reports Yonhap news agency.

If the current trends continue with no resolution, Korea's economy will report negative growth in 2050 and its overall population will fall below 40 million in 2070 from the current 51 million, the report said.

The BOK said the main causes of the record-low birth rate are tough competition, difficulties in getting a job, high residential costs and rising concerns over child safety.

The central bank expected the birth rate will rise up to 0.845 if the government comes up with measures to lower home prices, ease urban concentration and raise employment rates among unmarried young people to the levels of other OECD nations.

In the July-September period, the country's fertility rate fell to a record quarterly low of 0.7, down 0.1 from a year earlier, according to Statistics Korea.

It marked the lowest figure for any third-quarter readings since the agency began compiling related data in 2009.

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