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Overview of Korea’s development experience

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Development Overview
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Population

Precipitous decline in fertility

The early 1960s marked a crucial turning point in Korea’s demographic history. Rising birth rates and falling death rates created an economic challenge, along with a massive migration from rural to urban areas. Fearing that overpopulation would undermine economic growth, the government launched a family planning program, which included the distribution of free birth control devices and an incentive-based voluntary sterilization program. The government also legalized abortion in 1973. This contributed to the rapid decline of fertility rates from the high of 4.5 in the early 1970s to 1.7 in 1985.

Source : SaKong, Il and Koh, Youngsun, 2010. The Korean Economy Six Decades of Growth and Development. Seoul: Korea Development Institute.