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Childbirths in S. Korea dip by most in 2 decades in Oct.

All News 12:00 December 23, 2020

SEOUL, Dec. 23 (Yonhap) -- The number of babies born in South Korea declined by the fastest on-year pace in 19 years in October, data showed Wednesday, underscoring the country's chronic low birth rate.

The data compiled by Statistics Korea showed that 21,934 babies were born in October, down 14.4 percent from a year earlier.

It marked the sharpest on-year fall for any October since 2001, when the number of newborns fell 17.7 percent on-year.

The tally also marked a record low for the month of October since 1981, when the statistics agency began compiling related data.

In the first 10 months, the number of newborns reached 233,702, down 9.3 percent from a year earlier.

This photo, taken on March 28, 2019, shows a newborn baby unit at a Seoul hospital. (Yonhap)

South Korea is struggling with a decline in childbirths as many young people delay marriage or give up getting married or having babies amid a prolonged economic slowdown.

The country's total fertility rate -- the average number of children a woman bears in her lifetime -- hit a fresh record low of 0.92 in 2019, marking the second straight year for the rate to drop below 1.

Amid a sharp fall in childbirths, a total of 26,509 people died in October, up 3.7 percent from a year earlier.

Accordingly, the country's population declined by 4,575 in October, the sharpest monthly fall so far this year and also the largest since December last year, the data showed.

The number of deaths has outpaced that of newborns every month since November 2019. In the first 10 months, the population fell by 18,815, heralding the country's first yearly fall in population.

Meanwhile, the number of couples getting married reached 16,473 in October, down 19 percent from the previous year.

It marked a record low for any October since 1981, when the agency started compiling related data. The tally also marked the sharpest on-year fall since October 2017, when it fell 21 percent on-year.

The statistics agency, amid the trend of a fall in marriages, said the new coronavirus outbreak and stricter virus curbs delayed the timing for tying the knot.

In October, 9,349 couples got divorced, down 5.2 percent from a year earlier, the data showed.

This photo, taken on July 4, 2020, shows a wedding ceremony held in the southwestern city of Gwangju while keeping safe distances amid the new coronavirus outbreak. (Yonhap)

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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