SEJONG, Feb. 24 (Korea Bizwire) – Childbirths in South Korea increased in 2015 from a year earlier amid ongoing efforts to tackle the country’s chronically low birthrate, a report showed Wednesday.
The number of babies born last year came to about 438,700, up 0.8 percent, or 3,300, from a year earlier, a turnaround from a 0.2 percent drop the previous year, according to the report by Statistics Korea.
The report showed that the total fertility rate, or the number of babies that a woman is projected to have during her lifetime, grew to 1.24 from the previous year’s 1.21, marking a rise for the third consecutive year.
The fertility rate has hovered around 1.2 percent since it dropped to a record low of 1.076 in 2005.
The South Korean government has been encouraging its people to have more children by offering various incentives, including cash rewards. The chronically low birthrate and aging population are feared to hurt Asia’s fourth-largest economy by reducing the workforce and driving up welfare costs.
For every 100 girls born last year, there were 105.3 boys. The gender ratio among newborns was unchanged from the previous year.
Meanwhile, the number of deaths came to 275,700 last year, up 3 percent, or 8,000, from a year earlier, marking the largest annual death toll since 1983 when the statistics agency started to compile the data.
The number of marriages dropped 0.9 percent on-year to 302,900 in 2015, while 109,200 couples divorced last year, down 5.5 percent from a year earlier, the report showed.’