South Korea is the most expensive country in the world to raise children from birth to 18, according to a study by Jefferies Financial Group. On the list of 14 countries studied by Jefferies, South Korea is followed by China, then Italy. Jefferies analysts pointed to some differences between Asian and Western cultures that could be a factor in South Korea and China claiming the top two spots.
Analysts said that while Western couples seem to want two or three children, those numbers are lower in the “East”. They said it’s also less common in Asian cultures for people to have children while unmarried. Jefferies noted that when countries have an aging population, the working population declines and countries have problems with social protection systems.
Jefferies offered some advice on what governments can do to make education for children more affordable, focusing on China in particular. A major help would be if China did more to subsidize childcare. The Chinese government has announced in its current five-year plan that it aims to increase the number of preschools for children under the age of three. old. There are 42 million Chinese children under the age of three. Parents of a third of them want them to go to preschool, but only 5.5% can actually do so, according to the Jefferies report.
“We understand that the government is either looking for the state to provide these services and/or to regulate the price of private services.”
Paying for college in China is also a pain. It takes more than $75,000 to raise a child to age 18 in China, and another $22,000 to allow him to go to college. Although this seems cheaper than rates in the United States, Jefferies notes that student loans are less common in China than in Western countries.
In South Korea, parents of young children spend an average of 198,000 won per month (about $162) on childcare, despite the welfare program launched in 2013 to make childcare virtually free for all parents in the country. .
According to the Korea Institute of Child Welfare and Education, which surveyed some 1,119 households with young children, a parent spends an average of 198,000 won per month on education and child care. 11.8% of all South Koreans surveyed did not spend money on childcare or education.
The survey results reveal the shortcomings of the current state-run program, which provides up to 200,000 won per month to all households with children aged 0-5, as the number of child care centers and kindergartens of state-run children is limited and private institutions generally cost more, according to The Korean Herald.
THE SOURCE: CNN | The Korean Herald