This is the lowest figure in the world and has declined sharply to a rate of 1.48 as recently as 2000. In 1980, South Korea’s fertility rate was 2.82 and in 1960 it was 5.95.
Experts have warned that the nation needs to maintain a fertility rate of 2.1 in order to maintain a stable population without resorting to immigration.
For Koreans, the biggest cost for a child goes to education expenses beyond regular public schooling. In 2022, the Chosun Ilbo reported, Koreans spent KRW26 trillion (€17.94 billion) on private cram schools for their children, which works out to KRW524,000 (€361.53) per month per child.
Han Ye-jung, a lawyer for the 31-month-old daughter, said, “Korea is a very education-oriented society, and for most families, extra lessons are normally accepted after regular school ends.”
Han told Deutsche Welle that cram schools in South Korea are known as “hagwon” and children often start at age 4, typically to learn English.
“It’s a big trend in Seoul at the moment and people pay a lot of money every month for these English kindergartens because they believe that when kids are young it’s easier for them to learn the language and it’s a really important skill.” is,” she said.
Han admits she often talks about education options when she meets with friends or family members, most recently with a cousin’s daughter attending an English kindergarten.