The social transformation of South Korea

Over the years South korea grew economically very hard, but this also had a inpact on the social status of south korea. This social transformation was mainly noticiable in the rural areas of the country.

As you can see in the graph down below, the percentage of amount of farmers in South Korea dropped drastically over the years. Where in 1960, 61% of the population was made up of farmers, in 1980 only 38% of the population was a farmer. Many farmers moved to the big cities so that they can send their kids to good school and work in well paying jobs. A lot of farmers suffered during this time due to low profit on their crops. As an attempt to help the farmers, former president Park introduced the New village movement.This movement was to educate farmers on how to modernize their farms and houses. However many famers couldn’t afford to modernize their homes. For example a way to modernize the homes was to replace the roofs with fireproof tiles. These tiles were expensive so farmers resorted to metal roofs painted blue or orange to simulate tiles. In the 1990’s the incomes of the people who lived in the urban areas of South-Korea rose. This lead to prices of crops and other agricultural goods being increased. Farmers were now able to profit more of their crops.

 

The economic development also had an impact on the birth rate of South Korea. South Korea looked at western countries and noticed that by cutting the birth rate, the economic growth and modernization would grow faster. Together with the International Planned Parenthood Federation, South korea formed the Planned Parenthood Federation of Korea in 1961. In 1968 the government introduced  oral contraceptives. These measurements and other government lead campaign resulted in the birth rate of Korea decreasing. You can see the decrease very well in this graph. Where in 1960 the average birth per woman was around 6, in 2019 this number lowered to 0,9. 

While south korea kept on growing, their education development grew as well. In the period of the 1960’s till the 1990’s South korea reached education levels of developed countries. With secondary education becoming universal and higher education levels that were identical to those in Europe you would think that the labor participation would also be as high as in european countries. This however was not the case, Korea had a much lower labor participation. Consumer growth was lower than the GDP growth. Lack of a social welfare safety net encouraged high rates of savings, as did the bonus system, in which workers received bonuses, usually set aside for savings, up to 400% of the monthly salary. Consumer desire was also constrained by state policies, such as keeping the prices of luxury goods extremely high and restricting foreign travel. The health standards however were improved with infant mortality rates matching those of most European countries

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