FOR MUCH of its history, South Korea worried about having too many babies. In the 1960s and 1970s the government set targets for family size. South Koreans were told that “even two are a lot”. Sterilisation was subsidised. Today the country has the opposite problem. In 2006 the government set a goal of raising the total fertility rate—a measure of births per woman—from 1.2 to 1.6 by boosting child-care subsidies and cutting taxes for families. Yet instead of rising, the figure tumbled even lower. On August 28th new data showed that the fertility rate fell to 0.98 in 2018, from 1.05 in 2017. South Koreans are having fewer babies than ever.