At present, primary and secondary schools across the country have begun to start, but in neighboring South Korea, March is usually the beginning of a new school year. Recently in South Korea, some schools are welcoming new students, but some schools have no choice but to close because they cannot recruit new students.
Last year, South Korea experienced “negative growth” for the first time in population, and the issue of population decline along with the arrival of the new semester aroused great concern in Korean society.
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In an elementary school less than three kilometers from downtown Busan, South Korea, students could have been seen at this time, but now it is silent.
This school had only 4 freshmen enrolled last year, and the whole school had only 57 students. At the end of last semester, the school merged with another elementary school and the students transferred collectively. This elementary school, which was founded 60 years ago, was officially closed. The current school number is He school nameplate has been removed.
Recently, in Gangwon Province and other parts of Korea, elementary schools have been closed. Even in Seoul, the most densely populated city, nearly 20% of elementary school students have fewer than 50 students. Due to the decrease in the school-age enrollment population, a total of 30 primary, middle and high schools were closed in South Korea last year alone.
Statistics from the Korea Statistics Office show that last year, South Korea’s total fertility rate fell to the lowest level in history of 0.84, far below the 2.1 required to maintain the current population status. The current fertility rate is almost the lowest in the world.
With the decrease in the number of births, changes in the population structure of local cities in South Korea are particularly obvious. In Chungcheongnam-do, located in the central and western regions of South Korea, the number of local maternity hospitals has decreased by 20% and nursing homes have doubled in the past ten years. Today, there are many small schools in South Korea. No maternity hospitals can even be seen in towns.
Affected by years of low fertility rate and population aging, it is estimated that according to current demographic trends, in 2065, the number of people over 65 in South Korea will exceed the working-age population, and South Korea’s pensions will be exhausted in 2055. .
Some Korean media even commented that if the population problem is not resolved, let alone national competitiveness, it will be a question of whether the country will exist in the future.
The reasons why Koreans are unwilling to have children are mainly pressures from housing, employment, and women returning to the workplace after giving birth. In order to stimulate population growth, all parts of South Korea are currently resorting to hiring.
Not long ago, the South Korean government announced that it would raise the monthly childcare subsidy from 2022 and provide a one-time additional maternity subsidy of approximately RMB 12,000. In addition, it will also introduce policies such as parental leave for both spouses.