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Chart of the week: South Korea’s disappearing children

South Korea's fertility rate is the world’s lowest at 1.05, a far cry from the 2.1 required to keep the population stable.

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South Korea is running out of babies, says The Economist. The fertility rate, gauging how many children the average woman will have over her lifetime, is the world's lowest at 1.05, a far cry from the 2.1 required to keep the population stable. Women, who are better educated than men and increasingly eager to carve out a career, face pervasive discrimination at work and are loath to drop out of a job to start a family in case they can't return. Having children outside marriage, meanwhile, is still frowned upon. This is bad news for future growth and the "strained pension system". Improved childcare will help, but it won't be enough to solve the problem while immigration "remains a touchy subject".

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