South Korea is grappling with a chronic decline in childbirths as many young people delay and give up on getting married or having babies amid a prolonged economic slowdown and high housing prices.
The number of babies born in South Korea plunged in October, the lowest tally since 1981, highlighting the country’s bleak demographic situation with the chronically low birth rate, data showed on Wednesday.
A total of 20,736 babies were born in the country in October, down 5.2 per cent from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.
The October figure was also down from 21,920 newborns recorded in September.
In the first 10 months of 2021, 224,216 babies were born in the country, down 3.6 per cent from the previous year.
South Korea’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 per cent.
The number of deaths, meanwhile, gained for the eighth consecutive month in October amid rapid population aging.
South Korea posted the first natural decline in population in 2020 as the number of deaths outpaced that of newborns.