April births decline to a record low of 26,100
According to Statistics Korea’s monthly population report on Wednesday, 26,100 births were recorded in April this year, a decline of 6.1 percent compared to the same month the previous year.
This is the lowest figure for the month since the statistics agency started collecting the data in 1981.
The nationwide birth rate, or the number of live births per 1,000 people, for the month was at 6.2. Only Sejong, the newly founded city that houses the government complex, had a double-digit birth rate, of 12.2.
The number of deaths in April declined 0.4 percent on year.
Korea’s natural demographic growth, based just on the number of births and deaths, rose by just 2,200 in April, also the lowest figure since the agency began recording the data.
The decreasing number of births comes amid concerns that Korea’s population will soon shrink.
Last year, the natural demographic growth was at 28,000 compared to 125,400 in 2016.
The demographic changes comes amid a decline in marriages and a rise of single-person households.
The statistics agency reported that the number of marriages in April this year fell 2.9 percent on year to just 20,000, while the number of divorces rose 9.2 percent to 9,500 in the month from the previous year.
Statistics Korea explained that the number of births fell as the number of women in the 30 to 34 age group, who are most likely to give birth, decreased and the number of marriages dropped.
According to a recent report from KB Financial Group’s business research institute, the number of single-person households in the country as of 2017 was 5.62 million, or 10.9 percent of the population.
The figure is estimated to rise to 16.3 percent in 2045.
BY CHAE YUN-HWAN [firstname.lastname@example.org]