SEOUL, March 24 (Korea Bizwire) — The number of babies born in South Korea fell to a record low in January, data showed Wednesday, underpinning the country’s chronically low birth rate.
A total of 25,003 babies were born in January, down 6.3 percent from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.
It marked the lowest for any January since 1981 when the statistics agency began compiling related data.
South Korea is struggling with a sustained fall in childbirths as many young people delay marriage or give up on getting married or having babies amid a prolonged economic slowdown.
The country’s total fertility rate — the average number of children a woman bears in her lifetime — hit a new record low of 0.84 last year. It marked the third straight year that the rate was below 1 percent.
The number of deaths came to 27,181 in January, down 4.3 percent from the previous year.
Accordingly, the country’s population declined by 2,177 in the month, marking the 15th straight month of fall.
South Korea reported the first natural decline in population last year as the number of deaths outpaced that of newborns amid the country’s rapid aging and low birth rate.
Meanwhile, the number of couples getting married declined to a record low in January, the data showed.
The number of people tying the knot reached 16,280 in January, down 17.9 percent from the previous year.
It marked the lowest for any January since 1981, when the agency began compiling related data. It also represented the sharpest on-year fall since a 22.9 percent decline in 1997.
The new coronavirus outbreak and strict virus curbs delayed the timing of weddings amid the downtrend in marriages.
Divorces fell 5.2 percent on-year to 8,373 in January.