SEJONG, Nov. 27 (Yonhap) -- The number of newborns in South Korea fell 7.5 percent in September from a year earlier, government data showed Wednesday, the latest data underscoring the low birthrate that has plagued Asia's fourth-largest economy for more than a decade.
The data compiled by Statistics Korea showed that 24,123 babies were born in September, compared with 26,066 babies tallied in the same month of 2018.
It marks the lowest number of newborns for any September since 1981, when the statistics agency started compiling data on newborns on a monthly basis.
In 2018, South Korea's total fertility rate -- the average number of children a woman bears in her lifetime -- hit a record low of 0.98, much lower than the replacement level of 2.1 that would keep South Korea's population stable at 51 million.
The decline in childbirths comes as some young South Koreans are opting to distance themselves from life's three major milestones -- dating, marriage and having children -- because they cannot find decent jobs amid a prolonged economic slowdown.
Other factors are the high cost of private education for kids and skyrocketing home prices, as well as the difficulties women face in finding jobs after spending extended time away from work to raise children.
The number of South Koreans getting married rose 10.2 percent on-year to 15,800 in September, which was the lowest monthly total this year.
(News Focus) No parcel day: Why S. Korean delivery workers are taking a day off on Aug. 14
(News Focus) S. Korea frets over flare-up in virus cases over weekend, summer vacation
Fresh tensions brewing in Seoul-Tokyo ties over court procedure to sell off Japanese assets
Reform committee's recommendations to diffuse chief prosecutor's power draw backlash
After six months, pandemic accelerates arrival of contactless future in S. Korea