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South Korea has a problem with the number of babies being born. The problem is that the number of babies being born each year is going down. South Korea has the lowest birth rate in the world. In 2020, more people died in Korea than were born. This is the first time that this has happened in Korea. The problem has the government in Korea worried.

If a country does not have enough children, it can cause many problems. Without enough young people, there won’t be enough workers in the future. This means countries won’t have enough people or money to look after elderly people. This issue is being seen in many countries but it is most serious in South Korea. The South Korean government is now trying to get people to have more children. The President of South Korea, Moon Jae In, has started a program to give parents money when they have children. Parents will receive around $2000 before they have their baby and around $300 each month for the first year. The government hopes this will convince more families to have children.

The problem in Korea is that work pressure can stop people from having children. Women can sometimes feel like having children will damage their career. If they want to have a successful career, they may choose to not have children or to delay having children. This can also cause problems as it becomes more difficult to have children the older people are. Another problem is the cost of having a child. People in many countries are having fewer or no children because of the extra costs such as food, rent for bigger homes, clothes for children and other necessities.

Difficult Words

Convince (v): To make someone believe what you believe.

Pressure (n): To feel forced to do something.

Damage (n): To hurt or make something worse.

Delay (v/n): To wait or do at a later time.

Necessity (n): Something that is needed.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

American English Audio:

Match the Synonym!

 1. Convince A. Hurt
 2. Pressure B. Wait
 3. Damage C. Make someone believe.
 4. Delay D. Needed
 5. Necessity E. Force

True or False?

1. Not enough babies are being born in South Korea. T / F

2. South Korea has the highest birth rate in the world. T / F

3. The Korean government is not so worried about the situation. T / F

4. The president of South Korea is giving people money to have children. T / F

5. There is a lot of work pressure in Korea. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. the / lowest / birth / South / Korea / rate / has

2. the / first / is / This / time

3. families / this / government / more / The / will convince / hopes

4. many / This / issue / is / being / in / seen / countries

5. problems / This / cause / can / also

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

American English Audio:

DiedEnoughBorn
ReceiveCareerExtra

South Korea has a problem with the number of babies being (1)________. The problem is that the number of babies being born each year is going down. South Korea has the lowest birth rate in the world. In 2020, more people (2)_______ in Korea than were born. This is the first time that this has happened in Korea. The problem has the government in Korea worried.

If a country does not have (3)__________children, it can cause many problems. Without enough young people, there won’t be enough workers in the future. This means countries won’t have enough people or money to look after elderly people. This issue is being seen in many countries but it is most serious in South Korea. The South Korean government is now trying to get people to have more children. The President of South Korea, Moon Jae In, has started a program to give parents money when they have children. Parents will (4)___________around $2000 before they have their baby and around $300 each month for the first year. The government hopes this will convince more families to have children.

The problem in Korea is that work pressure can stop people from having children. Women can sometimes feel like having children will damage their (5)__________. If they want to have a successful career, they may choose to not have children or to delay having children. This can also cause problems as it becomes more difficult to have children the older people are. Another problem is the cost of having a child. People in many countries are having fewer or no children because of the (6)______costs such as food, rent for bigger homes, clothes for children and other necessities.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think of this story?
4. Is it expensive to raise children in your country?
5. What is the cost of living like where you live?
6. Is work culture in your country stressful?
7. Are there any other reasons why you think people might not be having children?
8. How easy is it for women to take maternity leave in your country?
9. Does your country have paternity leave? If so, do fathers use it?
10. Do you know if people are having fewer children in your country?
11. Are people getting married later or buying houses later in your country?
12. How do you think the Korean government can encourage people to have children?
13. How big of a problem do you think it is that people are having fewer children?
14. Do you think it is more difficult to raise children today compared to 20-30 years ago?
15. How many children do people usually have in your country?
16. How easy is it to have a successful career and care for children in your country?
17. Should people be encouraged to have fewer children because it is more environmentally friendly?
18. How many hours a week do people usually work in your country?
19. Do people receive any benefits for having children in your country?
20. What could the government do to make you want to have children?