Jan. 6 (UPI) -- A South Korean city is offering a grant of nearly $100,000 for couples who have at least three children, according to a local press report.
South Korean network KNN reported Wednesday the city of Changwon, the capital of South Gyeongsang Province, is combating the problem of a declining population with financial incentives.
The new policy grants loans of 100 million South Korean won, or about $92,000, to all married couples residing in the city.
If the couple gives birth to one child, the interest on the loan would be waived. For two children, 30% of the loan principal would be forgiven. If the family has three children the entire loan is forgiven or becomes a grant, according to the report.
Kim Jong-pil, a representative of Changwon's planning department, said the policy comes at a time when "more innovative marriage and childbirth incentives" are needed in the city, a statement that reflects similar concerns about a declining birth rate across the country.
South Korea's ministry of interior and safety said the country recorded more deaths than births in 2020. Last year there were 275,815 births and 307,764 deaths, the first time the South has reached the "population death cross," according to CNN.
In Changwon officials are concerned the population could fall under 1 million. The local government has also said it plans to create more jobs by attracting companies, and subsidizing housing for workers and university students.
The goal is to create 20,000 jobs by 2025, according to KNN.
Long work hours and lack of job opportunities in South Korea's competitive society have been cited as economic causes for the relatively low birth rate and increasingly low rates of marriage among South Koreans in their 20s, 30s and 40s.