Released in March this year, the report by Statistics Korea predicted South Korea’s population could peak at around fifty-one million this year, before dropping to the 1972 level of around thirty-four million by 2067 under the most pessimistic scenario.

Seniors aged sixty-five and older would account for nearly half the population by 2065 under even the medium-growth scenario, making it the grayest developed nation in the world and potentially threatening its military capabilities.

In contrast, immigration-friendly countries such as the United States, Canada and Australia are seen having a quarter or less of their populations who are sixty-five years old or older over the same period…

Experts blame the expense of childrearing, the high youth jobless rate and the burden placed on working mothers, who still carry out the majority of household chores and childcare. Intensely competitive education and job markets are also seen as factors behind the baby strike.