South Korea is battling its declining birth rate and the resulting economic consequences. President Yoon Suk Yeol has made the issue a top priority.

South Korea’s President Yoon Suk Yeol has announced that the country’s demographics will become a top government priority. As Newsweek reports, the aim is to halt the demographic decline and ensure the long-term health of Asia’s fourth-largest economy.

According to local media reports citing his spokesman, Yoon said a future secretariat will be solely responsible for the issue. Last week, in a televised address, he called for the creation of a new ministry to address the low birth rate.

South Korea’s fertility rate, already the lowest in the world, has continued to decline. The average number of expected births per woman fell from 0.78 in 2022 to 0.72 last year. This is well below the conservation rate of 2.1.

The South Korean government has already spent more than $200 billion on initiatives to support new mothers and encourage larger families. These include cash grants, infertility treatments and child care services. Despite this, fertility rates have fallen for the fourth year in a row.

Some private companies have taken their own measures to encourage births. The construction company Booyoung Group offers its employees $75,000 for each newborn baby.

South Korea’s demographic problem is exacerbated by the ever-shrinking number of young people compared to older citizens. According to forecasts, this trend will continue until 2050. Also South Korea’s East Asian neighbors; Japan, China and Taiwan face similar demographic challenges.