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S. Korea's suicide rate falls in 2017

All News 12:00 December 13, 2018

SEOUL, Dec. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's suicide rate fell slightly in 2017 from two years earlier, government data showed Thursday, amid government's efforts to bring down the number of people taking their own lives.

The data compiled by Statistics Korea showed that 24.3 out of 100,000 South Koreans took their own lives in 2017, compared with 26.5 in 2015.

South Korea's suicide rate has been on the decline since 2011, when it stood at 31.7.

The move came as South Korea began to look into causes of all suicide cases between 2012 and 2016 as part of efforts to lower the rate to 17 by 2022.

Separately, the statistics agency said more South Korean men have taken paternity leave in recent years as the government has been encouraging men to help out in child rearing.

The number of male employees getting paternity leave came to 12,043 in 2017, compared with just 355 in 2008.

Still, the figures pale in comparison to those of women.

The number of female workers, who took maternity leave, stood at 78,080 in 2017, compared with 28,790 in 2008.

The data illustrated the widespread perception in South Korea that women should take care of children.

South Korea has been encouraging paternity leave, including turning the unpaid leave into paid leave in 2001, as part of its efforts to boost South Korea's low birthrate and ease the burden of child care.

South Korea's total fertility rate -- the average number of children a woman bears in her lifetime -- stood at 1.05 in 2017, compared with 1.19 in 2008, according to Statistics Korea.

The statistics office warned that the total fertility rate could fall below 1.0 in 2018, much lower than the replacement level of 2.1 that would keep South Korea's population stable at 51 million.

In this file photo taken Jan. 23, 2018, an unidentified official walks into the Korea Suicide Prevention Center in central Seoul. (Yonhap)


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