In a recent emotional address to the nation, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un implored women to increase the birth rate and raise their children as communists, highlighting a demographic challenge that North Korea faces amid declining birth rates.
Kim Jong Un’s Emotional Address at the National Mothers’ Meeting
During the Fifth National Conference of Mothers in Pyongyang, Kim Jong Un delivered a poignant speech, visibly emotional and tearful, urging North Korean women to play a crucial role in reversing the country’s declining birth rate. “Stopping the decline in birthrates and providing good child care and education are all the family affairs that we should solve together with our mothers,” Un emphasized, stressing the importance of women’s roles in strengthening national power through increased childbirth.
Fertility Rate Concerns in North Korea
- According to the United Nations Population Fund’s 2023 estimate, women in North Korea have an average of 1.8 kids each.
- That’s quite a drop from years ago and shows a big change in birth trends.
- It’s still more babies than nearby places though; South Korea’s got just 0.78 kids per woman, and Japan’s at 1.26 from last year.
Economic and Social Implications
North Korea’s falling birth rates echo what’s happening in richer places. “Nowadays, a lot of North Korean families plan to just have one kid because they understand raising children is expensive,” says Ahn Kyung-su, who runs DPRKHEALTH.ORG. Such a drop in births could spell trouble for the country’s army and workforce down the line.
Government Initiatives and Incentives
To counter this trend, North Korea has introduced several incentives for families with three or more children. These include:
- Free housing, food, and medicine.
- Household goods and educational incentives.
Additionally, Kim Jong Un’s public appearances with his young daughter, Ju Ae, are seen as a potential public relations effort to encourage larger families.
Historical Context and Future Projections
- Today, North Korea’s birth control rules are completely different from the ones in the ’70s and ’80s. Back then, they wanted to cut down on the number of people because there were too many.
- However, after the big famine in the mid-1990s, not as many babies were born.
- A study from the Hyundai Research Institute says that by 2070, there might be way fewer people living in North Korea.
The Larger Impact of Declining Populations
- North Korea’s declining population could impact various sectors, including its military, which is the fourth-largest standing army globally, despite the country ranking 56th in total population.
- A significant population decrease could affect the government’s ability to maintain its socialist system, heavily reliant on a large, centrally mobilized labor force.
Global Comparisons and Contrasts
North Korea’s population trends are kinda of like those in nearby East Asia, think South Korea and Japan, with birth rates going down there too. But, North Korea’s got its mix of issues ’cause of the way it’s ruled and its shaky economy. That means trying to fix the problem is tough stuff.
Impact on Social and Cultural Norms
Boosting the number of births isn’t simply a matter of population numbers or money. It digs into the rooted ways society behaves and thinks. Kim Jong Un’s push for ladies to have more kids is also a nudge toward changing how women and families operate. This could seriously shake up the way men and women see their roles, along with how North Korean society is put together.
Kim Jong Un’s tearful plea to the women of North Korea is a reflection of the country’s broader demographic challenges. With declining birth rates, economic and social implications, and a potential impact on military strength, the issue presents a complex challenge for the isolated nation.
This comprehensive approach toward understanding North Korea’s demographic situation underscores the complexities and urgencies of the issue, as emphasized by Kim Jong Un’s emotional appeal. Click here for a detailed analysis.