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ANNOUNCEMENTS
  • [K-12] NJHS Women's Health Access Dress Down Day on May 29th.
  • SKAC HS Soccer 7's @ISB on May 23rd.
  • SKAC MS Basketball Finals @ISB/BFS on May 22nd.
  • KISAC MS Girls Basketball Tournament @DIS on May 17th-18th.
  • KISAC MS Boys Basketball Tournament @KISJ on May 16th-18th.
  • Don't forget your spirit shirts on Friday.
The Student News Site of Daegu International School

Jets Flyover

The Student News Site of Daegu International School

Jets Flyover

NIMBYism compounds fertility rate crisis

Korea faces plummeting birth rates while xenophobia keeps immigrants out
The Korean government faces a dilemma as birth rates plummet and prejudice against foreigners rules out immigration as a viable solution. (Christine Park)

Today, Korea faces an abysmal population crisis with a national average fertility rate—the mean number of children born—of 0.84, the lowest in the entire world. Local birth rates gradually declined over the past decades, which led to the current extreme statistics. According to the Korean Statistical Information Service(KOSIS), newborn cries nearly slashed down to a third between 2000 and 2022. 

The KOSIS statistic shows a sharp decline in post-millennial birth rates in Korea. (Christine Park)

Population decrease may seem innocuous at first glance; however, it envisions a frightful future. The drop in fertility leads to the reduction of available manpower, productivity, and consumption. Think of a country without any youths in school, workers in industries, consumers to buy goods, and soldiers to defend our borders. If the current situation continues, this dark future fast approaches us in the next three decades. A report from the Board of Audit and Inspection said, “As of 2017, 83 out of 229 (36.2%) provinces of Korea are under the threat of immediate extinction. From the analysis of the future extinction risk index [government index of regions at the risk of population decimation], it is predicted that this will grow to 157 (68.6%) provinces in less than 30 years.” 

This chart represents regional population extinction risks and predicts a grim reality of “ghost cities” by 2047. (Christine Park)

While the government nearly quadrupled investments to spike birth rates over the past 12 years, the fertility rate continued to plummet. The same report from the Board of Audit and Inspection described the birth encouragement policies as a “complete failure”. The report mainly discussed extreme population centralization, competition in education, and increased costs of living as the causes of this disparity. With these failed policies, I believe that the government must resort to external measures like immigration. 

However, such efforts remain minimal in Korea due to NIMBYism(not in my back yard), which pertains to the public’s resistance against accepting foreigners into their livelihoods. A KOSIS report showed that about 2.1 million out of 51.7 million people (4.1%) come from foreign nations, and almost nine out of ten fail to earn citizenship. 

Various factors stunt needed progress. First, many consider Korea as less preferable for immigration due to the required military service and difficult naturalization examinations. Widespread antipathy against citizens of developing countries, people of color, and Muslims also play a large role. Recently, in Daegu, many locals protested against the construction of an Islamic mosque in Daehyeon-dong. A local protester said, “Before they [Muslims] arrived, it was our front door…they ask us respect for their culture, but do they respect us? No, they don’t!” 

Koreans hold great pride in their monoculturalism. They tend to value ethnicity as a determinant of one’s patriotism and nationality. Also, many believe that the government must prioritize the rights of locals over foreigners, regardless of their citizenship status. For example, according to Joongang News, “Immigration policies must be considered thoughtfully and thoroughly before enforcement, as it may deteriorate the Korean identity.” This statement vaguely connotes racial purity. Such an anecdote clearly portrays the fact that our society still relies on outdated racial classifications to characterize its people. 

In search of solutions for such obstacles to immigration in Korea, I investigated the precedent case of the United States. While the United States once formed as a nation of immigrants, the collision between locals and settlers soon became a problem, as well as racial conflict. For example, the United States enforced the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 as a demonstration of antipathy against cheap foreign labor. 

To prevent national instability caused by such issues, America increased funds for immigration control. To implement this change, the U.S. government created the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in 2003. Through this, America improved policies for stable migration and the collection of skillful labor forces from around the world. The United States also promoted diversity to control conflicts between locals and newcomers within their nation. This, while not completely resolving opposition, gained reasonable success in the integration of foreign populations. 

I believe Korea shouldn’t retain its conservative views on the current issue, especially when the abysmal fertility rate pushes down on us. Societal xenophobia pushes governments to ignore a viable solution. Therefore, I believe that we must undergo significant reforms in immigration policies in reference to the American model. 

In particular, we must increase funds for the establishment service department. To save Korea from an envisioned extinction, the government needs to support the integration of newcomers into our society. The investment into their education, health, living standards, and integration does not solely favor them but benefits the country as a whole. Imagine – would you want to live in an entirely extinct, backward society? Or would you rather live in a diverse, prosperous country, filled with life and energy? The choice is yours. 

View Comments (3)
About the Contributors
Jerome Kwon
Jerome Kwon, Writer
Jerome Kwon makes a comeback to the Jets Flyover staff after a one-year hiatus. With his heart on his sleeve, Jerome desires to write inspiring, thought-provoking, and critical articles for the students of DIS. Jerome greatly admires Mr. Lipsky and hopes to learn from him. He has a profound interest in the current geopolitical issues that affect the globe, especially Korea. He aims to become a riveting columnist and provide the latest investigative journalism for the people.
Jessica Woo
Jessica Woo, Managing Editor
A eleven year veteran at DIS, Jessica Woo returns to the Flyover staff in her junior year. As an engaged student who loves to read and write, Jessica helps other students improve and always attempts to step up as a writer herself. Founder of the Jets Broadcasting Service, she communicates and delivers informative messages to the DIS community. As much as she adores writing, Jessica deems herself a baseball-holic and attempts to watch every game if possible. 

Leanne Yoon
Leanne Yoon, Managing Editor
Leanne Yoon, dubbed as “Lenny” by her close friends, rises into her sophomore year bursting with ambition. As a leader of clubs such as Menstruation Station, SOAR, Debate Club and String Orchestra, Leanne often ponders on what else she could bring to her fellow Jets. In her leisure time, she vibes to music and immerses herself in all things K-culture. This year, Leanne hopes to bring the Flyover to the next level as the co-managing editor of the publication. 

Catherine Park
Catherine Park, Editor in Chief
Cath loves writing stories and making art. Luckily, God gifted her a talented left hand. As the vice president of the National Arts Honor Society, she can be seen drawing around campus. Cath explores many different genres of books, music, movies, and activities, and is willing to explore more about them throughout her experience as the editor-in-chief. All she needs is paper, a pencil, an eraser, and her dog, Russell. Cath writes, illustrates comics, edits articles, and manages the Jets Flyover.
Christine Park
Christine Park, Illustrator
After years of persuasion from her peers that sparked intrinsic motivation, Christine Park finally enters Journalism as a senior. Chris’s greatest passion revolves around the field of art and anime. Her role as the president of the National Art Honors Society and Visual Arts Club proves the enthusiasm she bears for artistry. As the new illustrator for the Jets Flyover, Chris is eager to dive into journalism and share her artwork and comics with a wider audience.
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Comments (3)

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  • M

    Min KimOct 10, 2023 at 12:16 am

    It’s so sad that the birth rate in Korea is going down. I wish you make more jets flyover about Korea.

    Reply
  • V

    VoltOct 5, 2023 at 7:26 pm

    Josh :I am shocked that by 2047 people in Korea would be extinct.
    Volt : I think it’s so important t know about the Korea would have no human in the future. I think the government should make protection to save south Korea.

    Reply
  • J

    JeromeOct 4, 2023 at 2:46 am

    One of the best articles I’ve seen

    Reply