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Cost of housing deters marriage, childbirth: report

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Published : 2017-03-26 16:41
Updated : 2017-04-04 10:57

A drastic increase in home prices or rents lowers marriages and birthrates, a recent study has shown.

The report, released Sunday by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs, has also found a positive correlation between the supply of affordable housing and marriage, although no meaningful link was found when it comes to childbirths.
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The paper analyzed the correlation between housing, marriage and childbirth, using data from the National Statistical Office, Korea Appraisal Board and others from 2010 to 2014.

“The result signifies higher home prices or key money deposits could lead to lower marriage rates or total fertility rates,” the research team said.

The study also indicated that housing costs, tenure types and home sizes play a role in people’s decision to have children.

Couples put off childbirth if housing costs are unmanageable or their housing is small, but most do not delay having more children if they own their own home, the data found.

In order to break the negative link between the housing burden and childbirth and make a virtuous circle, lead researcher Lee Sam-sik suggests that the country tackles the housing paradigm that a home is something that a family should “own.”

“Instead of providing support for housing purchases and rental fees, the country should consider expanding the supplies of public rental housing,” he said.

South Korea has one of the lowest birthrates in the world, with an average 1.25 children per woman in 2016, while more and more young people are deferring marriage to a later age or choosing not to wed at all.

By Byun Hee-jin (hjbandi9@heraldcorp.com)