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Coronavirus pandemic feared to accelerate population decline in S. Korea

All News 14:00 April 21, 2020

SEJONG, April 21 (Yonhap) -- The coronavirus pandemic could have a negative impact on births and marriages this year and is feared to accelerate population decline in South Korea, a senior finance ministry official said Tuesday.

Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-beom said in a meeting on the nation's population policy that the coronavirus outbreak has reshaped people's everyday lives, prompting people to work from home and students to take online classes.

"There are worries that shocks from COVID-19 could have a negative impact on births and marriages and accelerate a decline in birthrates this year," Kim said.

Kim urged officials to take a "new approach" on population policy in the wake of the pandemic.

Coronavirus pandemic feared to accelerate population decline in S. Korea - 1

South Korea's total fertility rate hit an all-time low in 2019, a clear sign of its population decline down the road.

The country's total fertility rate, which refers to the average number of children a woman bears in her lifetime, came to 0.92 last year, down from 0.98 a year earlier, according to the data from Statistics Korea.

Last year marked the second consecutive year for the rate to fall below 1. South Korea was the only member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that had a total fertility rate below 1.

kdh@yna.co.kr
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