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Gov't to increase housing support for newlyweds

All News 14:44 January 29, 2016

SEOUL, Jan. 29 (Yonhap) -- The government and the ruling party agreed Friday to increase the state housing support for newly married couples as part of efforts to tackle the nation's chronic low birthrate, a lawmaker said.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport will build a total of 10 apartment units across the country exclusively for newlyweds, Rep. Lee Joo-young of the ruling Saenuri Party told reporters following a meeting with government officials.

South Korea has one of the lowest birth rates among the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development members, stoking concern that it could cripple the country's growth potential and possibly result in more welfare expenses.

"Ten apartment units exclusively for newly married couples will be developed, an increase from the initial five, to meet the high demand," Land Minister Kang Ho-in said.

According to data by Statistics Korea, some 435,400 babies were born last year, down around 1,000, or 0.2 percent, from a year earlier. It marked the second straight year of on-year decline and was the lowest since 2005, when around 435,000 babies were born.

The government will also push forward with a plan to provide incentives to couples who give birth to more than three children, Lee said.

Asia's fourth-largest economy, the population of which is expected to peak in 2030, has been trying to push up its birthrate to prevent a decline in the national workforce.

khj@yna.co.kr
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