SEOUL, Jul. 30 (Korea Bizwire) — The number of newborn babies in South Korea is expected to be around 360,000 for all of 2017, data showed Sunday, marking the first time for the figure to fall below 400,000.
According to the data compiled by the country’s health ministry and statistics agency, the number of newborn babies came to 159,600 over the January-May period, down 12.4 percent on-year to post a record low.
The number of newborn babies fell for the 18th consecutive month in May. The last time the figure increased was in November 2015, when it managed to inch up 3.4 percent on-year.
While the combined figure came to a record low of 406,300, experts said the number will further decrease down the road below the psychological significant level of 400,000.
South Korea’s average birth of babies hovered around 1 million in the 1970s but quickly lost ground to reach 490,000 in 2002. While the average birth rate was estimated at 4.54 in 1971, it lost ground to reach 1.17 last year.
Experts said the latest decrease is attributable to the rising unemployment among the younger generation, along with the burden of costs.