The Asian younger generation does not want to have children

Career pressure, financial burden, and gender inequality when raising children are the reasons why many Asian women choose a happy single life. Many couples express their thoughts of not wanting to have children because of too great financial pressure.

Many Korean women refuse to have children

South Korea’s birth rate, which is the lowest in the world, continues to decrease for the fourth consecutive year, reaching a record low of 0.72 in 2023, much lower than the recommended level of 2.1 to ensure a stable population. If this trend continues, South Korea will halve its population by the end of the 21st century. In the next 50 years, the number of working-age population will also halve, the number of people eligible for military service will decrease by 58% and nearly half of the Korean population will be over 65 years old.

This demographic crisis has become one of the top risks to the Korean economy, social welfare and security, forcing officials to declare a national emergency. The government of this country has spent a lot on promoting childbirth, such as birth allowance, monthly allowance, housing allowance, free taxi service, even hospital bills, and insemination test tube (IVF) will also be paid. The Korean government also implemented other measures such as hiring nannies from Southeast Asian countries and exempting men from military service if they have 3 children before the age of 30.

Korea has spent more than 286 billion USD on birth promotion since 2006, but it is ineffective.

Korean women have the highest levels of education among the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, but the gender income gap in the country is also among the highest. The unemployment rate for women is also higher than for men, showing that women have to choose between career or getting married.

It is difficult to find a man who can share housework and take care of children equally in Korea. Men and women in Korea have the right to take a year off during the first eight years of their children’s lives. But in 2022, only 7% of fathers will take this leave, compared to 70% of mothers.

Working hours in Korea usually last from 9 am to 8-9 pm, not including overtime, so they cannot have enough time to raise children. Besides, many Korean women are forced to quit their jobs or are not promoted after maternity leave. Therefore, more and more people choose a career.

Furthermore, the cost of raising children in Korea is among the most expensive in the world. From the age of 4, Korean children are often sent by their parents to take a series of expensive extracurricular classes, from math, English, music, and Taekwondo. Almost all parents have to send their children to these classes. The research by the Korean Ministry of Education in 2022 shows that only 2% of parents do not pay for private educational institutions, while 94% think this is a financial burden for the family.

Japan – birth rate falls to record low in 2023

Japan, a neighboring country, said on February 27 that the number of children born in 2023 has decreased for the eighth consecutive year to an unprecedented level of 758,631. Japan’s birth rate falls to a record low of 1.26 in 2022, the lowest number since the country started counting births in 1899.

The Japanese government has carried out many measures to promote birth, in some places this policy is quite effective, such as in Akashi, where children receive free medical care until the age of 18, and free lunch at school until age 15. Families with 2 or more children can send their children to public kindergarten for free. Infants under 1 year old receive free diapers, midwives will be delivered to home, and child care consultants operate effectively. The policy is for all families to receive the same portion, regardless of income or social status.

Singapore – expensive standard of living, high cost of living makes many people not want to have children.

Singapore’s birth rate is at a record low in 2022, after years of steady decline. The biggest reason for this situation is the standard of living here is too expensive, the high cost of living makes many people not want to have more children.

The Singapore government has had a hard time thinking about and implementing many measures to encourage people to have children. From 2024, the bonus for families giving birth will be increased. Couples will receive an amount of $8,000 for their first child, $10,000 for their second child, and $12,000 for their third child or more. The time off for husbands when their wives give birth also increased from 2 to 4 weeks. This is a big step toward normalizing fathers playing a larger role in parenting. At the same time, they call on employers and colleagues to help fathers feel secure in taking leave and taking care of their wives and children.

China – a positive sign when the “Two-Party Marriage” policy is becoming more and more popular.

In China, the birth ratio was recorded at 1.09, also the lowest level in history.

The government of this country has removed the one-child policy, thereby creating a new form of marriage that helps reduce economic pressure on couples and contributes to increasing the birth rate. This trend is called “Two-headed marriage”. Couples will have two children, the first child will take the father’s name – go to live with the paternal family, and the second child will take the mother’s family name – go to live with the maternal family. This form of marriage brings equality in responsibilities and rights to both husband and wife.

The reason for this form of marriage comes from the long-standing one-child policy, leading to young couples in China today being almost all only children, so some choose to stay with their parents after marriage. The husband lives with the husband’s parents, the wife lives with the wife’s parents to share the burden of raising children and continuing the family line for both parties. Young couples no longer have the energy and time to take care of their children and have to rely on their parents.

This form has the downside of lacking the bond of the nuclear family, sometimes conflicts arise such as the length of stay is not evenly distributed between the two parties, and even affects the children, making them more difficult to integrate into the family.