North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called for efforts to address the nation’s falling birth rates, claiming it as everyone’s housekeeping duty. In an unusual event, a video surfaced showing the typically stoic leader shedding tears as he addressed a gathering of mothers in Pyongyang on the issue. The emotional plea came as the average number of babies born to women in the country was estimated to be 1.8, a higher rate compared to its neighboring countries.
During the event, Kim expressed the need to work with the mothers to prevent the decline in birth rates and emphasized the importance of providing good childcare services. Despite being one of the poorest countries in the world, North Korea’s fertility rate has seen a decline, with the trend mirroring that of wealthier nations.
The decline in fertility rates in North Korea is attributed to a variety of factors, including economic constraints and the influence of South Korean media highlighting the elevated status of women. Additionally, a famine in the mid-1990s led to a major decline in the country’s fertility rate.
To combat the declining birth rates, North Korea introduced benefits for families with three or more children, including free housing arrangements, state subsidies, and educational perks for children. However, the country is expected to face a population shrinkage in the coming years, which could pose challenges for its labor force and overall development.
The emotional plea from Kim Jong Un and the country’s efforts to incentivize larger families reflect the seriousness of the declining birth rates in North Korea. The nation’s demographic challenges, alongside its economic and geopolitical dynamics, highlight the complexities that contribute to the issue. As North Korea seeks to address this concern, the global community will continue to monitor the developments and their implications.