March 06, 2023 09:39
Fewer than 1,000 babies were born in most of Korea's administrative districts last year, including almost all of Seoul.
According to Statistics Korea on Sunday, 59.6 percent of the country's 228 towns, counties and districts in Korea saw less than 1,000 childbirths in 2022. That means an increase from 107 districts in 2012 to 136 a decade later.
In 2012, no districts in the capital, which is home to 18.3 percent of Korea's population, had fewer than 1,000 childbirths, but Jongno fell below in 2013, followed by Jung in 2015 and Gangbuk in 2021.
Rural areas are hollowing out faster. In South Jeolla Province, 20 districts saw less than 1,000 childbirths last year, followed by North Gyeongsang Province (19), Gangwon Province (16), South Gyeongsang Province (13), South Chungcheong Province (12), North Jeolla Province (11), Gyeonggi Province (10), North Chungcheong Province (10), Busan (nine), Incheon (four), Seoul (three), Daegu (three), Ulsan (two) and Gwangju (one).
That also means that schools are closing down. According to the Ministry of Education, 193 schools closed between January 2018 and last April, the vast majority outside the Seoul metropolitan area.
The number of kindergartens declined 21.1 percent compared to 2018 to 20,923.
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