The price of prosperity Once upon a time, South Korea was actually trying to bring its fertility rate down. The South Korean education system is one of the most competitive in the world: when children are at an early age, their parents begin agonising over an eight-hour entrance exam for university that will have a tremendous impact on their social mobility and career prospects. Yet despite these efforts, the fertility rate remains abysmally low. Families in Seoul spend an astonishing 16 percent of their income on private after-school tuition to help their children study for exams. Some of them even work for as long as 19 hours a day. The term is used to describe the cohort of young South Koreans who have relinquished three aspects of life: dating, marriage and children.