SEOUL, Jan. 8 (Korea Bizwire) — A declining population is leading local authorities to come up with new policies as the plunging birth rate threatens to undermine the competitiveness of a number of cities, and could even lead to their dissolution.
The southeastern city of Changwon is stepping up to offer special loans to stimulate the birth rate in the region, offering as much as 100 million won (US$91,000) to newlyweds at a low interest rate, which can be cut or even exempted depending on the number of children they give birth to in the following three years.
The city has seen its population drop since 2011, plunging from 1.09 million to 1,036,738 people as of last year.
Jecheon in North Chungcheong Province also experienced population decreases for four consecutive years starting in 2016.
The city now offers as much as 40 million won in subsidies if a family that borrowed money from the city’s housing loan program gives birth to a child.
The southwestern city of Gwangju decided to give out 200,000 won every month to all families giving birth to children this year for the next two years.
Local authorities are beginning to intervene as the central government’s policy to stimulate birth rate has had limited success.
The central government has invested 150 trillion won to promote childbirth over the past five years. The result, however, was a lower birth rate, going from 1.17 births in 2016 to 0.92 in 2019.
The country’s population decreased last year for the first time in history.
M. H. Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)