Magazine January 27, 2020, Issue

The Global Fertility Crisis

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America is not immune

South Korea recently denied draft exemptions for members of the K-pop boy band and international sensation BTS. BTS is one of South Korea’s most dynamic economic and cultural exports, worth about $4.65 billion annually to the South Korean economy. But despite the hundreds of millions of dollars of lost economic output involved, the boys of BTS must serve. The South Korean military cites many reasons for the denial of exemptions, but one reason may simply be urgent need. Thanks to the nation’s critically low birth rate, just 0.88 children expected per woman at 2019 levels, the army is expected to

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This article appears as “Our Global Birth Dearth” in the January 27, 2020, print edition of National Review.

Lyman R. Stone — Mr. Stone is a research fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, the chief information officer of the population-research firm Demographic Intelligence, and an adjunct fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He was formerly a market forecaster for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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