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Seoul, June 28 – The number of babies born in South Korea hit yet another fresh low in April, further extending the decline in the population of Asia’s fourth-largest economy, new data revealed on Wednesday.
Only 18,484 babies were born in April this year, sinking 12.7 per cent from a year earlier, according to the monthly report from Statistics Korea.
It marked the lowest number for any April since the statistics agency started compiling monthly data in 1981.
The number of babies born in South Korea has been falling on-year for 89 consecutive months.
South Korea has been grappling with a significant crisis of low birthrate, as younger generations increasingly postpone or forego starting families due to soaring housing prices and economic uncertainties.
The country’s total fertility rate, the average number of children a woman bears in her lifetime, came to 0.81 in the first quarter of 2023, much lower than the replacement level of 2.1 that would keep South Korea’s population stable at 51 million.
The number of deaths came to 27,581 in April, down 24.8 per cent from a year earlier amid the reduced impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
South Korea suffered a natural decrease of 9,097 in its population in April.
The trend of deaths surpassing births has continued for 42 straight months.
The data showed that the number of marriages decreased 8.4 per cent on-year to 14,475, also a record low.
Divorces, on the other hand, rose 1.3 per cent to 7,288 cases over the period.
In a separate report, the agency said South Koreans aged 65 and above are set to make up 46.4 per cent of the total population in 2070, a projection that shows rapid population aging amid the country’s critically low birthrate.
The figure marks a sharp rise from the 18.4 per cent estimated for this year.