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Cash for romance: South Korean district offers money for couples to date and marry

The government of Saha District, located in the western part of South Korea’s second-largest city, recently passed a revised budget to fund a matchmaking programme that will encourage local ladies and gentlemen to meet with the aim of starting a family, with financial incentives offered to them at each step in the process.

A pilot project for the programme will take place in October with a meeting day event for prospective couples.

For each pairing that agrees to date through the programme, both man and woman will receive 500,000 won (US$360). Couples who decide to tie the knot will then get an additional 20 million won as a “congratulatory gift”.

Newlyweds can also receive 30 million won to put a deposit on a home or 800,000 won per month to subsidise their rent for up to five years.

Participants must be between the ages of 24 and 43 and either live or work in Saha. They must also submit an application and go through a screening and interview process before being allowed to participate in the programme.

The number of participants in the pilot programme will be small and limited to Korean nationals. However, the district government said it planned to expand it and include foreign nationals in the future as well.

“This project is aimed at overcoming the population cliff crisis caused by the decline in birth rates by forming a multicultural local community in the future,” Saha District head Lee Gap-jun told the media. “With the decline in local and overall population becoming more evident, there is a strong determination to push forward with this project.”

That number falls far below the 2.1 children needed to maintain the country’s current population of 51 million.


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