South Korea to establish new ministry to address low birth rates

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol announced on Thursday that his government would establish a new ministry to address the country's low birth rate.

On the second anniversary of his presidency, he addressed the nation and asked for the opposition's support in parliament to pass legislation to establish the new ministry.

"In order to overcome the low birth rate, which can be considered a national emergency, we will fully mobilize all of the state's capabilities," Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency quoted Yoon as saying.

Policymakers are concerned over the country's steady population decline, with the birth rate reaching a low of 0.72 in 2023.

According to the Korean Peninsula Population Institute for the Future, the East Asian nation's economically active population could plunge by nearly 10 million by 2044.

The number of people aged 15 to 64, which stood at 36.57 million in 2023, is projected to decrease to 27.17 million in 2044, the news agency reported, citing the Institute's latest report.

The report also warned that the number of deaths is also expected to reach 746,000 in 2060, while births are estimated to be just 156,000, resulting in a natural population decline of 590,000.

The country's total population was 51.71 million in 2023, with a projected drop to 39.69 million by 2065, according to the report.

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