South Korea unveils new speed trains aimed at boosting birthrates

South Korea unveils new speed trains aimed at boosting birthratesSouth Korea unveils new speed trains aimed at boosting birthrates
via Arirang News
Ryan General
22 days ago
South Korea is hoping its new high-speed trains can help reverse the nation’s record-low birthrate.
Key points:
  • South Korea recently unveiled its new high-speed train service to ease commutes from outlying suburbs to Seoul.
  • Officials said they aim to address housing and long commutes, which are key barriers young people cite for starting families.
  • President Yoon Suk Yeol inaugurated a section of the project’s first line on March 29, reported Reuters
Catch up:
  • South Korea is currently grappling with the world’s lowest fertility rate. Statistics Korea reported an 8% decrease in the nation’s fertility rate in 2023 compared to the previous year. Experts warn that the country’s population of 51 million is at risk of halving by 2100.
The details:
  • The Great Train eXpress (GTX) is a $99.5 billion underground train network intended to ease commutes for Seoul workers. The first line began partial operations on Saturday. It is expected to cut the commute from Suseo to Dongtan from 80 minutes by bus to 19 minutes.
  • Young Koreans frequently blame the lack of affordable housing and grueling commutes for delaying family life. Earlier government efforts focusing heavily on subsidies have been largely unsuccessful.
  • South Korea’s Land Minister Park Sang-woo told Reuters that GTX would let young people consider homes outside Seoul. “With two-hour commute on the way home, for example, how can anyone make time for babies?” he asked.
What’s next:
  • The GTX is projected to include six lines by 2035, potentially easing the greater Seoul housing market strain.
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