Research warns falling average number of babies born per woman will cause shortfalls for healthcare and pensions

South Korea’s fertility rate is set to hit an all-time low this year, setting the country up for a host of problems including underfunded pensions, expanding debt and economic decline.

The country’s fertility rate – the average number of babies born per woman – is set to drop to as low 0.96 this year, falling below one for the first time in history, according to a study commissioned by the Chosun Ilbo newspaper. Such a low fertility rate is normally only seen during wartime, said Lee Chulhee, an economics professor at Seoul National University and one of the authors of the study.

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