SEOUL, Aug. 25 (Korea Bizwire) — The number of babies born in South Korea dropped to a record low in June, data showed Wednesday, in the latest sign that underscores the country’s gloomy demographic situation with the chronically low birth rate.
A total of 21,526 babies were born in June, down 2.7 percent from the previous year, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.
It marked the lowest for any June since 1981, when the statistics agency began compiling related data.
In the second quarter, the number of newborns reached an all-time low of 66,398, down 2.7 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 that the rate was below 1 percent.
In the April-June period, the total fertility rate stood at 0.82, down from 0.85 the previous year and the lowest for any second quarter.
The number of deaths rose for the fourth straight month in June amid a rapidly aging population.
The number of deaths came to 24,391 in June, up 3.1 percent from a year earlier. It gained 3.3 percent on-year to 75,049 in the second quarter.
This resulted in the country’s population decreasing by 2,865 in June, marking the 20th 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 5.5 percent on-year to 16,235 in June. Divorces declined 0.4 percent to 8,741 in the month, the data showed.