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More South Korean men become stay-at-home dads

Increasing numbers of South Korean men are choosing to be stay-at-home dads.
Recent data indicates about 16,000 men were not working in 2023, a record high since tracking began in 1999, spiking by 37.4% in one year and tripling over a decade.

This trend reflects a shift in attitudes, as more men take advantage of paternity leave. In 2022 alone, 37,885 men took leave, 30.5% more than the previous year. Even though it's still rare, with the majority of these men in their 40s, it signifies changing views on fatherhood and childcare.

Meanwhile, women are less frequently stepping back from the workforce for childcare. The number of economically inactive women due to childcare has dropped by 14.7% since last year, with those in their 30s making up the largest group.

Despite an overall decrease in economically inactive parents from 1.48 million in 2013 to 840,000, birth rates remain worryingly low. In an effort to address this and to balance work and family life, the Gender Equality and Family Ministry is introducing new support measures for childcare, particularly for dual-income and multicultural families, as well as single-parent households.

These measures include expanding home-based childcare services and offering an emergency childcare service. Additionally, there's assistance for children from multicultural families and increased subsidies for low-income single parents.

South Korea must navigate its decreasing birth rate and the challenges of depopulation. The government is now looking to replace the outgoing Gender Equality and Family Minister, who resigned amidst these ongoing efforts.
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