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S. Korea's childbirths slide to 6-month low in June

All Headlines 12:00 August 25, 2016

SEJONG, Aug. 25 (Yonhap) -- The number of childbirths in South Korea dropped to a six-month low in June on a low birthrate and late marriage trend, government data showed Thursday.

About 32,900 babies were born in June, down 7.3 percent, or 2,600, from 35,500 a year earlier, marking the lowest monthly tally since December last year, when it hit 31,900, according to the data from Statistics Korea.

The June figure also recorded the steepest on-year drop since January 2014, when the number of new babies declined 3,000 on-year.

The downbeat trend in the number of newborns has been regarded as one of the most worrisome social phenomena in South Korea, coupled with rapid aging.

The chronically low birthrate and aging population is feared to reduce the workforce and drive up welfare costs, undermining the growth potential of Asia's fourth-largest economy.

The country's fertility rate, or the average number of babies that a woman is projected to have during her lifetime, hit a record low of 1.08 in 2005 and has hovered around 1.2 in recent years, despite the government's constant efforts to encourage people to have more children.

In 2015, South Korea's birthrate reached 1.24, the second-lowest mark among 34 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Meanwhile, the number of marriages fell 9 percent on-year to 24,300 in June, while 9,200 couples divorced, marking an 8 percent drop over the cited period.

The number of deaths edged up 0.5 percent to 21,400 from a year ago, the report showed.

brk@yna.co.kr
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