MVP Sustainability Map

South Korea


Sustainability Grade




Sustainable Population

66.4 %

Contraception Use


Species Threatened

0.14 %

Population Growth

$ 31,631

GDP Per Capita

Country Comments

South Korea is a very densely populated country with roughly ten times as many people than can be supported sustainably. Population growth in the 1960’s, where the average Korean woman had 5.6 children, was a major concern to the government as an obstacle to human health and development and it intentionally promoted strategic campaigns for smaller families. The highly successful initiative has blessed the country with the lowest fertility rate in the world of less than one child per mother and boosted individual per capita income over one hundredfold in just three decades. It is expected in the next few years that the country's total population will begin to decline.

The government has mistakenly feared this decline and unwisely instituted financial incentives for couples to have more babies. Nevertheless there are conditions that influence many South Koreans from having large families including general cost of living, more women in the work force and less interest in the financial and time burdens of raising a child.

If the expected population decline begins, it will gradually help with the myriad environmental problems South Koreans experience such as some of the worst air pollution in the world, acid rain, depleted fisheries, poor water quality from agricultural runoff and sewage discharge, and deforestation for development.