Wagswoofs – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un emphasized the importance of women in addressing the declining birth rate and bolstering national power, according to state media. He stated that it is a duty for women to take action in order to reverse the trend and encourage more childbirth. This announcement comes as the North Korean government intensifies its efforts to promote population growth.
North Korea’s population trends are challenging to determine due to the limited statistics disclosed by the country. However, according to South Korea’s government assessment, the fertility rate in North Korea has been steadily declining over the past decade. This decline is a cause for concern, particularly for a country that relies on mobilized labor to sustain its struggling economy, which is heavily affected by sanctions.
During the country’s National Mothers Meeting, which took place on Sunday, Kim made a compelling plea for women to consider having more children. This event marked the first of its kind in 11 years.
Kim emphasized in his opening speech the importance of addressing the decline in birthrates and ensuring quality child care and education. He emphasized that these issues are collective responsibilities that should be tackled in collaboration with mothers.
North Korea’s government statistics agency reported a decline in the country’s total fertility rate. In 2022, the average number of babies expected to be born to a woman over her lifetime was 1.79, compared to 1.88 in 2014. However, this decline is still slower than that of South Korea, its wealthier neighbor. South Korea’s fertility rate dropped to 0.78 last year, down from 1.20 in 2014.
South Korea has the lowest fertility rate among developed countries. There are several factors contributing to this trend, including a challenging job market, intense competition in the school system, limited child care support, and a corporate culture that prioritizes men and makes it difficult for women to balance work and family responsibilities.
According to some observers, although North Korea is considered one of the poorest nations globally, its demographic structure is undergoing a transformation similar to that of wealthier countries.
According to Ahn Kyung-su, the head of DPRKHEALTH.ORG, a website dedicated to health issues in North Korea, many families in the country no longer plan to have more than one child. This is because they are aware of the financial burden that comes with raising and educating children, as well as helping them secure employment opportunities.
According to Ahn, who has conducted numerous interviews with North Korean defectors, the influx of South Korean TV dramas and movies over the past two decades, which depict women with a higher social status, may have also impacted the fertility rates of women in North Korea.
North Korea took steps to control its population growth in the 1970s and 1980s by implementing birth control programs. These measures were aimed at slowing down the increase in population following the aftermath of the war. The fertility rate in the country experienced a significant decline after a devastating famine in the mid-1990s, which resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives. This information was reported by the Hyundai Research Institute based in Seoul in August.
The report from the institute highlighted that North Korea may encounter challenges in reviving and advancing its manufacturing industry due to a lack of resources and technological advancements. It emphasized the importance of providing sufficient labor forces to support the growth and development of this sector.
North Korea has recently implemented a range of benefits for families with three or more children, as per reports from state media. These benefits include advantageous free housing arrangements, state subsidies, provisions of free food, medicine, and household goods, as well as educational perks for the children.
According to South Korea’s statistics agency, the population of North Korea is estimated to be 25.7 million. However, a report by the Hyundai institute suggests that the country is projected to undergo a population decline starting from 2034. The report predicts that the population of North Korea will decrease to 23.7 million by the year 2070.
According to Ahn, the head of the website, Kim Jong Un’s frequent public appearances with his young daughter, Ju Ae, are likely efforts to promote the importance of family. However, other experts believe that these appearances are more likely intended to establish Ju Ae as her father’s successor.