Distributions Increased in South Hamkyung To Boost Birthrate

Daily NK
Han Young Jin
“If you have a second child, your rations become equivalent to a family of 4”…citizens respond apath 
North Korean authorities have been scrutinizing over the decreasing number of birthrates by young couples and as a result have proposed to increase the amount of rations to families having children.

If a couple gives birth to a second child in the district of Hamheung, South Hamkyung, the whole family will receive 6 months worth of distributions, a source informed. If a third child is born, the rations increase all the more.

After giving birth to a child in a hospital, a married woman from Hamheung can obtain a birth certificate, which is then submitted to the local district office, to receive distributions equivalent to a family of 4. These proposals resemble policies implemented by local district offices in South Korea.

Though Hamheung city has made efforts to increase the birthrate with distributions, the people’s response is all but cold, the source said. How many people would really have a second child just to scavenge off a few months worth of distributions.

One of the main reasons that the birthrate is decreasing in North Korea is due to the fact that women are avoiding giving birth, informed the source.

The source said, “Nowadays, North Korean women engage in businesses and are the breadwinners of the family. They are not satisfied with just having children and bringing them up” and added, “Everyone knows that it is hard enough to live and even harder if you have a lot of children.”

North Korea’s birthrate has continued to decline since the late 1990’s. The average birthrate in North Korea in 1993 was 2.1 births per family and in 2002, 2.04. Comparatively, in South Korea the birthrate per family in 1970 was 4.53 and 1.19 in 2003. Within a period of 33 years, the number of childbirths per family had reduced to 3.34 persons.

In an interview with the Jochongryeon last December, Kang Nam Il, head of the North Korea Population Research Center said, “The decrease of birthrates in our country (North Korea) is no different to that of other nations” and remarked, “Women want to have 2 children, though in the cities women have either 1 or 2 children.”

The source said, “There may be slight differences in each district. Nonetheless, most of the larger cities have adopted this proposal” and added, “This policy was implemented as North Korean authorities are finding it difficult to reach the quota for conscription and the number of students enrolling in schools.”


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