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Parents of 7 first to receive W10m for childbirth in Seoul

Feb. 24, 2024 - 16:01 By Yoon Min-sik
Jeon Hye-hee (center) and her husband Jo Yong-seok (right) pose with Jung-gu Office chief Kim Gil-sung at the couple's home on Wednesday, after receiving 10 million won ($7,500) for having multiple children. (Jung-gu Office)

A young couple who recently welcomed their seventh child became the first family in Seoul to receive a 10-million-won ($7,500) subsidy for bearing multiple children, the district office of Jung-gu in central Seoul said Thursday.

Jung-gu Office said it had delivered Jeon Hye-hee and her husband Jo Yong-seok, both 28 years old, the cash incentive for couples who've had at least five children. The district office last year increased the incentives for couples who have five children or more from 5 million won to 10 million won.

The Jeon-Jo couple was the first recipient of the new policy in the district and was also the first couple living in Seoul to receive 10 million won for multiple childbirths.

Kim Gil-sung, chief of Jung-gu Office, visited the couple and their seven children on Wednesday and congratulated them. When asked what their biggest difficulty in raising seven children was, Jeon answered that living in a small home of 52 square meters was the biggest issue.

Their youngest child was born last month, and the other children are currently 10, 7, 6, 4, 3, and 2 years old.

"I'm glad that the first recipients of 10 million won (in childbirth incentives) are from Jung-gu. We will work to create an environment ideal for raising kids," Kim said.

The Jeon-Jo couple is also slated to receive other incentives provided by the state, the city and the district, such as a 1-million-won voucher for postpartum care given by Seoul, and a 100,000-won cash monthly subsidy given for every child under the age of eight. The South Korean government also gives a 2-million-won voucher for the birth of a first child and gives 3 million won per child for every additional child born.

The government has introduced a range of benefits for childbirth to battle the chronically low birth rates in the country. South Korea's total fertility rate -- the average number of children a woman is expected to bear for her lifetime -- fell to a new low of 0.78 in 2022 and is expected to dip deeper in the coming years.

As such, the Korean Education Development Institute recently estimated that the number of elementary, middle and high school students in the country is expected to fall from 5.13 million this year to 4.3 million by 2029.