Credit: Public domain.
According to Statistics Korea 통계청, the government bureau in charge of collecting official statistics, South Korea’s overall fertility rate for 2Q 2022 was 0.75, a new record low. South Korea has the world’s lowest fertility rate and is the only OECD country to have a fertility rate lower than 1.
Thus far, South Korea’s graying has mostly affected its rural areas, which are rapidly filling with immigrants. (See previous coverage, “Rural Areas Adapt to Immigrants.”) But the reduction in the number of children is beginning to be felt in Seoul as well.
On August 26, Dobong High School 도봉고등학교 in Seoul’s Dobong-gu District 도봉구 said it would stop taking new students for the 2023 school year and shut down by February 2024, making it the first high school in Seoul to close because of lack of students. In 2006, Dobong HS had 249 new students; this year, it had 45.