Women on average in South Korea have less than 1 child (officially 0.98 in 2018). This is actually quite a scary statistic!
This is due to a very large amount of issues, and to just name the ones I know of:
- Work Culture
You can't leave work until your boss leaves as it is frowned upon.
Asking to take annual leave affects your chances of promotion.
This links to...
- Long working hours
People work overtime almost every single day, this is due to different reasons. Therefore, people are generally too tired or lack the time in investing one self in having children and sometimes in even having a relationship with someone.
- Cost of living
Affording a house and mortgage is quite expensive. Salaries aren't high enough to afford the cost of living.
Also, South Koreans generally send their children to private education (pre-school, primary education, high school education, tutoring and academies). This is seen as a very expensive investment.
- Gender inequality
Women are seen as the primary carers of children and in Korean society are expected to quit work to take care of the children. Women are increasingly rejecting this and therefore refuse to have children or have a relationship. The wage gap between men and women is also quite high when compared to other countries.
Very competitive to say the least.
Which leads to...
Suicide in South Korea is a big issue due to all the above issues.
Youth Suicide due to the pressure to perform in school, exams, getting into a good university and finding a job.
Adult suicide due to pressure to provide for the family (long work hours + lack of job security + low salary)
Elderly Suicide due to loneliness and high rate of poverty among elderly people.
As you see, life in South Korea is quite difficult.
The youtube page Asian Boss has interviewed people about this topic a lot and you can see people's answers.
I live in Australia which to be honest I face none of the issues that South Koreans face. But what is stopping South Korea from adapting the kind of norms that Australia has. This would solve a lot of issues there.
- Normal 40 hour working weeks.
- No job discrimination.
- Raising the minimum wage.
- More faith in the public school system
- Less pressure and expectations on children.
- Both parents to take care of children and not just the mother.
- Closing the wage gap.
And most of all. Having a family and having children is a beautiful and honorable thing to do, and should be encouraged! Because at the end of the day, our children are our future and our legacy that we leave in this world!
If you have any South Korean friends, maybe have a talk with them about this topic.