Korea’s third-quarter birth rate drops below 60,000

2023.11.30 12:13:02 | 2023.11.30 12:53:58

[Photo by MK DB]이미지 확대

[Photo by MK DB]

The number of births in South Korea in the third quarter of 2023 fell to the 50,000 range, falling below the 60,000 marks for the first time since statistics were compiled. The total fertility rate also hit an all-time low, accentuating the country’s low birth rate crisis. According to the September population trend released by Statistics Korea on Wednesday, the number of births in the third quarter was 56,794, a decline of 11.5 percent from a year ago. The crude birth rate, which refers to the annual number of live births per 1,000 population, was 4.4 in the third quarter, down 0.6 from a year ago.

The total fertility rate from July to September was 0.7, the same as the second quarter of 2022, the lowest for any third quarter to date and 0.1 lower than a year ago. The total fertility rate rebounded to 0.81 in the first quarter this year from 0.7 in the fourth quarter last year but remained at 0.7 for the second and third quarters. The number of deaths in the third quarter was 87,143, up 2.1 percent from a year earlier. Data shows that the decline in births and increase in deaths led to a natural population decrease of 30,350 people.

The number of babies born in September 2023 was 18,707, down 14.6 from a year ago. The decline as of September was the largest ever, and the number of deaths in September was 28,364, a 3 percent fall from the same period last year. The number of births fell faster than the number of deaths in September, resulting in a natural decrease of 9,657 people in the population. The decline has continued for 47 months since November 2019.

Meanwhile, the number of marriages last September was 12,941, 12.3 percent lower than a year ago. There were 7,504 divorces, down 8.1 percent from the same period a year ago, and 507,000 cases of population movement in October, up 11 percent from a year ago and the highest figure in five years. Statistics Korea attributes this rise to increased demand for housing, with housing sales climbing 48.7 percent in August and September compared to the same period last year.

By Lee Hee-jo and Choi Jieun

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