SEOUL, Sept. 29 (Korea Bizwire) — The number of babies born in South Korea dropped to a record low in July, data showed Wednesday, in the latest sign that underscores the country’s gloomy demographic situation with the chronically low birth rate.
A total of 22,352 babies were born in July, down 2.8 percent from the previous year, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.
In the first seven months of this year, the number of newborns reached an all-time low of 159,269, down 3.4 percent from the previous year.
South Korea is struggling with a sustained fall in childbirths, as many young people give up 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 record low of 0.84 last year. It marked the third straight year the rate was below 1 percent.
The number of deaths came to 25,690 in July, up 7.1 percent from a year earlier.
This resulted in the country’s population decreasing by 3,338 in July, marking the 21st consecutive month of decline.
South Korea reported the first natural decline in population in 2020, as the number of deaths outpaced that of newborns.
Policymakers warned the country may face an “age quake” starting in 2030-40, an earthquake-like demographic shock from a fall in population and social aging, if it does not tackle demographic challenges in a timely manner.
Meanwhile, the number of people tying the knot fell 7.9 percent on-year to 15,739 in July. Divorces declined 15.1 percent to 8,306 in the month, the data showed.