“Too old,” “No money,” “Fine as I am”: Why Koreans aren’t planning to have kids

Posted on : 2023-11-28 17:14 KST Modified on : 2023-11-28 17:14 KST
A new survey found that 49% of Koreans between the ages of 18 and 49 had no plans to have children
(Clipart Korea)
(Clipart Korea)

Around half of South Koreans in their 20s to 40s said they do not plan to have children, survey results show.

The Presidential Committee on Ageing Society and Population Policy published findings Monday from a survey in conjunction with the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism on “perceptions of the low birth rate issue.” The study surveyed 1,200 South Koreans nationwide between the ages of 18 and 79 between Oct. 17 and 24. It had a 95% confidence level and a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.

A closer look at the findings shows that 49% of respondents under the age of 49 had no plans to have children, or 304 respondents out of 620. Broken down further by age, 32.4% of respondents in their 20s and lower, 34.2% of respondents in their 30s, and 76.2% of respondents in their 40s reported having no plans to have children.

At 24.4%, the “burden of childcare and education” was the top reason given for not planning to have children. This varied slightly by age group, however, with the top reason among respondents in their 20s being “leisure and comfort of being childfree” (40.3%). At 38.8%, the top reason given by respondents in their 30s was “economic instability,” while the top reason given by respondents in their 40s was “being past the age to have children,” at 30%.

One in four respondents (25.3%) viewed expanding policies that allow for work and childrearing balance, like maternity and paternity leave and lowering working hours, to be the most effective solutions for Korea’s low birth rate. Other conditions for remedying the country’s low birth rate included building social infrastructure like caretaking and medical services (chosen by 18.2% of respondents), expanding jobs and income including youth employment (16.1%), improving perceptions of having children (14.6%), and expanding housing (14.2%).

Out of respondents, 9.5% believed that increasing cash support was the most effective measure for reversing decreasing birth rates.

Furthermore, eight in 10 respondents saw it to be necessary to recognize a diverse array of institutions of marriage, including common-law marriage. In response to a question about whether diverse forms of marriage should be recognized, 34.2% of respondents said they “strongly agreed” that they should be recognized, while 46.8% of respondents said they “mostly agreed.”

By Lim Jae-hee, staff reporter

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

Related stories

Most viewed articles