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Government Childbearing Support Is Good but Ineffective

Posted October. 10, 2005 03:03,   


In order to promote childbearing, local autonomous governments provide parents and children with multiple benefits such as gold chains, silver necklaces, medicine for promoting nutrition, iron supplements, five million won.

Faced with a low fertility rate, the government is considering introducing an objective tax on low fertility. Local governments are also taking steps to promote childbearing and help child care. However, some voice concern that those measures are not likely to produce tangible results since they support levels that are various, and most support systems are one-time infusions of a small amount of money.

Is the Support for Childbearing Without Substance?-

As an incentive for childbearing besides cash, goods are being provided such as accessories.

Yeoncheon-gun gives a gold chain to parents with a newborn baby. Yanpyeong-gun gives a silver necklace. Eumseong, Chungbuk gives a gift certificate worth 300,000 won for a couple’s third baby and more.

In Jeonnam, people with children who have lived in fishing and agrarian villages for more than a year are entitled to 300,000 won for the expense of bring up a newborn baby. Besides that, Hwasun-gun gives parents with a new baby a photo album worth 20,000 won, Naju-si provides diapers worth 30,000 won, Boseong-gun provides two pairs of underwear worth 33,000 won, and Suncheon gives childcare goods worth about 100,000 won and supplements for expectant mothers and babies.

In the meantime, in Goryeong-gun, and Gimcheon, parents with a new born baby receive only 50,000 won worth of childbirth goods.

Childbearing support is focused on the third child.

Donghae-si, Gangwon gives 200,000 won to parents who have first and second babies, but 700,000 won for their third child. Inje-gun also gives parents who have a third child support money of one million won, which is double the amount given for the birth of a second child.

Haman-gun provides the biggest amount of money for the third child: totally five million won in four installments.

Seoul, Incheon, Busan and Chungbuk Danyang have a support program for the promotion of having a third child that provides parents with a third child with 100,000 to 300,000 won every month.

Seoul has the largest budget for childcare support per person. It pays the full childcare cost to the third child born after the year 2003. Busan Seogu pays the full expense of childcare for babies born since 2005. Daejeon provides 200,000 won and a helper for childcare.

Meanwhile, Daegu, Gwangju, Ulsan provide no support money or childbearing promotion money.

However, the support for the third baby has some problems. The support system can benefit most high income brackets with no financial difficulty. The support is not that effective given that career women tend not to have a third child because they are busy. The support system can lead to a gender imbalance in favor of boys.

Ineffective Childcare Support-

“The one-time support of some 200,000 won for a new born baby is of little help in lessening the burden of childcare”, said a representative.

He added that, “Support levels vary region to region according to financial status. The full support at the national level is needed in order to prevent differences of childcare support.”

Indeed, a child living in Jung-gu receives 1.03 million won a year, an amount 50 times higher than that given to a child in Jungrang-gu.

Jung-Eun Lee lightee@donga.com