The number of new-born babies continues to touch new lows in South Korea where working population is starting to thin with worsening fertility rate and fast aging.
According to a report released by Statistics Korea on Wednesday, 27,700 babies were born in April, down 8.9 percent from the same period a year ago. It is the first time that the number of newborn babies fell below 30,000 in April since the agency began compiling the monthly data in 1981. The monthly figure has decreased 12 consecutive months against year-ago period since May last year.
In the first four months of this year, a record low 117,300 babies were born, the report showed, dropping from 156,024 newborn babies in the same period in 2015, 147,513 in 2016, and an estimated 129,000 in 2017. It is the first time for the number of newborn babies during the January-April period to fall below the 120,000 mark.
Statistics Korea pointed to the demographic changes for the decline in the monthly childbirth.
An unnamed official from Statistics Korea said that the average age for active childbirth in the country is 33 years old but the registered population for this age group fell about 11 percent in April from a year ago.
The stagnant low birthrate is raising concerns that Korea could face the so-called demographic cliff in which the ratio of working age population decreases at an alarming rate, posing a threat to the country’s overall economy and society.
The number of couples tying the knot came to 20,600 in April, up 2.5 percent from a year ago. The number of divorces increased at much faster rate of 10.1 percent on year to 8,700 in April.
By Lee Yu-sup and Lee Eun-joo
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]