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Seoul, July 26 South Korea continued to report a natural decrease in population in May amid critically low births reflecting the alarming demographic challenge of Asia’s No. 4 economy, data showed Wednesday.
Only 18,988 babies were born in May, decreasing 5.3 per cent from a year earlier, according to the monthly report from Statistics Korea.
It marked the lowest number for any May since the agency started compiling the data in 1981, reports Yonhap News Agency.
The number of babies born in South Korea has been falling on-year for 90 consecutive months.
In contrast, the number of deaths in the country moved up 0.2 per cent over the period to 28,958, resulting in a natural decrease in population by 9,970.
The trend of deaths surpassing births has continued for 43 straight months.
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 data showed that the number of marriages moved up 1 per cent over the period to 17,212.
The rise came as couples who had delayed their weddings during the Covid-19 pandemic finally decided to tie the knot.
Divorces also moved up 0.3 per cent over the period at 8,393 cases.
In a separate report, Statistics Korea expected people aged 65 and above will take up 20 per cent of the population in 2025, marking a sharp rise from 18.4 per cent estimated for this year.