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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Korea’s October birthrate hit an all-time low

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A worker takes care of a newborn baby at a public postnatal care center in Gangwon. [YONHAP]
A worker takes care of a newborn baby at a public postnatal care center in Gangwon. [YONHAP]  

The number of babies born in Korea this October fell to its lowest point for any October to date. The number fueled predictions that the nation’s birthrate could drop to the 0.6 range in the fourth quarter.

A total of 18,904 babies were born in October, down 8.4 percent from a year earlier, according to the data that Statistics Korea released Wednesday.

The October tally marks the lowest number for any October since the agency began to compile related data in 1981.

The number of newborns stood at 196,041 after the first 10 months of the year, which was a decrease of 8.1 percent from a year earlier and the smallest number ever recorded.

Korea reported the first natural fall in its population in 2019, and the trend of deaths surpassing births has continued for 48 consecutive months since.

Childbirths in Korea are currently on the decline as many young people opt to postpone or give up on marriage and childbirth. High home prices, a tough job market, and economic slowdown have also played a role.

Deaths, meanwhile, grew 3.4 percent on-year to 30,793 in October. Korea’s population, accordingly, saw a natural decline of 11,889.

Marriages rose one percent on-year to 15,986 cases in October, while divorces increased 6 percent on-year to 7,916.

BY KIM JU-YEON, YONHAP [kim.juyeon2@joongang.co.kr]