The number of daycare centers in Seoul, which accommodate infants and toddlers under age seven, has decreased by 24 percent in the last five years as the country has continued to record the world's lowest fertility rate, data showed Friday
According to statistics from the Seoul Metropolitan Government on Friday, the number of daycare centers in Seoul was 4,712 as of the end of 2022, which decreased by 24.3 percent from 6,226 in 2017.
The number of daycare centers by year has been steadily decreasing for years, from 6,787 in 2014 to 6,598 in 2015, 6,368 in 2016, 6,226 in 2017, and 6,008 in 2018. This was followed by 5,698 in 2019, 5,370 in 2020, and 5,049 in 2021, and reaching below 5,000 in 2022 to 4,712, falling for the eighth consecutive year.
The decrease in the number of daycare centers is linked to a drop in the population of children and a low birth rate. The population of infants and toddlers between the ages of zero to six -- children who are subject to admission to daycare centers -- decreased by 31.6 percent from 504,604 in 2017 to 345,083 in 2022.
Last year, Seoul’s total fertility rate -- the average number of babies a woman is expected to have in her lifetime -- was only 0.59. Seoul’s total fertility rate was the lowest among 17 metropolitan and provincial governments throughout the country.