Report: Childbirths in South Korea reach another historic low in January

Seoul, March 27 (IANS) – The number of babies born in South Korea hit a record low in January, raising concerns about the country’s demographic challenges caused by an aging population and low birth rates. According to data from Statistics Korea, only 21,442 babies were born in January 2024, marking a 7.7% decrease from the previous year.

The decline in the number of births has been a concerning trend, with a 1% decrease in January 2022 and a 5.7% decline in January 2023. The report highlighted that the number of newborns has been steadily decreasing over the years, with a sharp drop from over 60,000 in 2000 to just around 20,000 in recent years.

This decrease in births is attributed to several factors, including young people delaying marriage and childbirth due to changing social norms, high home prices, a tough job market, and an economic slowdown. Last year, the total number of babies born in South Korea reached an all-time low of 229,970, with a total fertility rate of 0.72, well below the 2.1 births needed to maintain a stable population without immigration.

In addition to the low birth rate, the number of deaths in South Korea has also been on the decline, further exacerbating the population decline. The data revealed that in January 2024, the population decreased by 11,047, the sharpest decline for any January. The number of couples getting married increased by 11.6% compared to the previous year, with more couples tying the knot after delaying marriage during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite the increase in marriages, the number of couples getting divorced also rose by 9.5% on-year. With the current demographic trends, South Korea is projected to become a highly aged country by 2072, with the median age expected to increase from 44.9 in 2022 to 63.4 in 2072, and the population estimated to decline to around 36.22 million from last year’s 51 million.


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