Speed Reads

Numbers don't lie

South Koreans will become extinct by 2750 unless they start having more babies, study warns

South Korea has sent a dire warning to its citizens: Start having more babies, or our country might cease to exist.

If the nation's low fertility rate remains stable, South Koreans will go "extinct" by the year 2750, according to a study from Seoul's National Assembly Research Service. Assuming the fertility rate stays at last year's level of 1.19 children per woman, South Korea's population would shrink from 50 million to 20 million by 2100. A few hundred years later, the population would dwindle to nothing, the study found.

That said, there are a few big caveats. South Korea's fertility rate could rise; it has already rebounded slightly from the 2005 low of 1.08 children per woman, according to the Wall Street Journal. And of course, the projection doesn't account for all the historical variables that will come into play over the next few centuries. Maybe science will find a way to make all humans immortal by then, or the entire planet will have decamped for Mars. Unlikely? Sure. But so is the thought that a country's entire population will dwindle to nothing in hundreds of years just because people aren't having enough babies.