South Korea’s low birth rate fuels worry


FILE PHOTO: South Korea’s childbirth keeps falling in January.

FILE PHOTO: South Korea’s childbirth keeps falling in January.

South Korea’s childbirth kept falling in January, fueling worry about the demographic cliff, statistical office data showed on Wednesday.

The number of newborn babies was 25,003 in January, down 6.3 per cent from a year earlier, according to Statistics Korea. It was the lowest January figure since data began to be compiled in 1981.

The number continued to slide for 62 months since December 2015 amid the rising social trend of delayed marriage and the falling number of women who are of childbearing age.

The low birth rate boosted concern about the demographic cliff, which refers to a sudden drop in the heads of household eventually leading to a consumption cliff.

The number of marriages was 16,280 in January, down 17.9 per cent from a year earlier. It marked the lowest in January since 1981.

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The marriage fall came as the COVID-19 pandemic discouraged people from participating in social gatherings such as wedding ceremony.

The number of divorces declined 5.2 per cent over the year to 8,373 in January.

The number of deaths was 27,181 in January, down 4.3 per cent from a year ago.

Because of the fast slide in childbirth and the rising death, the country’s population kept skidding for 15 months in a row.

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