Year of Publication



Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Committee Chair

Dr. Nicolai Petrovsky

Executive Summary

South Korea has experienced a sharp demographic transition from a high birthrate of 4.5 children per woman in the 1970s to a low birthrate of around 1.19 in 2013. A low birthrate can lead to big problems for South Korean society.

In response to such a low birthrate, the South Korean government introduced policies to increase the birthrate, such as providing subsidies for daycare costs and the supply of daycare facilities. The South Korean government has spent heavily on these programs. However, the birthrate stays very low. Also, other social and economic factors could affect the birthrate.

Therefore, I studied what factors, including policies to increase the birthrate, affect the birthrate and how they affect it.

The results of the analysis show that social change is rapidly occurring, changing various aspects of family life, but the changes are closely linked to each other and child care subsidies in particular appear to have a strong effect increasing the birthrate. Female labor force participation reduces the birthrate, a result found often in economic development studies. Finally, age at first marriage reduces the birthrate.

Therefore, the South Korean government could keep policies to increase the birthrate such as subsidy for daycare cost and also find other policies to increase the birthrate efficiently such as tax penalty for single individual and policies to change the working culture.