NYT “Korea’s population decline is more serious than during the Black Death in the 14th century”

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On the afternoon of the 9th, a day before Pregnant Women’s Day, seats for pregnant women are available in the Seoul subway. Pregnant Women’s Day, celebrated every October 10, was established to overcome low birth rates and create a social atmosphere that cares for and protects pregnant women through positive awareness of pregnancy and childbirth. 2023.10.9/News 1

A leading American newspaper reported that Korea’s population decline is at a more serious level than during the Black Death, which shook the roots of Europe in the 14th century, and that countermeasures are urgently needed.

On the 2nd (local time), opinion columnist Ross Dowsert wrote in a column for the New York Times (NYT), “Korea’s birth rate is falling much more rapidly than that of other developed countries,” adding, “This is worse than when the Black Death was rampant in medieval Europe.” “It is at a serious level,” he pointed out.

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The birth rate of each developed country in 2021 is 1.7 in the United States, 1.8 in France, 1.3 in Italy, and 1.4 in Canada. In contrast, Korea recorded 0.81 people in 2021, falling to 0.78 in 2022 and 0.7 in the third quarter of 2023.

Dowsert likened this to a birth rate that, assuming 200 people in one generation, would drop to 70 people in the next generation and 25 people in the next generation.

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There are no exact statistics on population decline during the Black Death in the 14th century, but scholars estimate that the population decreased by 30 to 60 percent depending on the region. Dowsert estimates that Korea’s population is declining rapidly.

However, he added, “Just as we incorrectly predicted in the 1960s and 1970s that the population would continue to grow and lead to an overabundance, the current low birth rate phenomenon may not continue.” The point is that humanity is underestimating its ability to overcome its own birth rate.

He warned, “Even if the decline is not as drastic as in your thought experiment, if Korea’s population falls below 35 million in the late 2060s, Korean society could become dangerous.”

Dowsert said, “South Korea, in the midst of a population decline crisis, will have to choose between economic decline and accepting immigrants,” and added, “As South Korea struggles to maintain a capable military, North Korea, with a total fertility rate of around 1.8, may one day invade.” “He said directly.

They also cited a cruel level of academic enthusiasm, a significantly low out-of-wedlock birth rate due to cultural conservatism, gender polarization, and young men becoming immersed in the virtual world and becoming distant from the opposite sex as the reasons for the decline in the birth rate.

However, he said, “Rather than contrasting with American culture, these explanations feel like they are exaggerating the trends we are experiencing.” He added, “What is currently happening in Korea is not simply gloomy or surprising, but shows what can happen to us.” “It’s a warning,” he said.

Source: Donga

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