Total births down 10.9% in August

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Total births down 10.9% in August

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Births totaled just 24,408 in August, the 41st record low.

According to Statistics Korea data released Wednesday, the figure was down 10.9 percent from the previous year. Korea has posted record lows for births for each month since April 2016.

The total number of births this year through August stood at 208,195, an 8.0 percent drop from the same period a year earlier.

Busan experienced the steepest fall in births through August compared to the previous year, dropping by 12.5 percent.

Births through August fell across all cities and provinces, except Sejong, where totals were up 5.9 percent from the previous year. The 208 births in August in the relatively young city, however, represent just 1 percent of the country’s total that month.

The number of marriages also declined in the month, falling 5.2 percent to 18,340, bringing the total number of marriages this year to 157,641, an 8.2 percent decline from the same period in 2018.

The low number of births suggests a demographic collapse.

According to Statistics Korea, the country’s total fertility rate last year was 0.98, a decline from 1.05 in 2017 and the lowest rate since the related data were first compiled in 1970.

It is the lowest fertility rate in the world.

The agency expects Korea to make the transition into a “super-aged” society as early as 2025.

In a “super-aged” society, people older than 64 are more than 20 percent of the population. This year, such individuals are 14.9 percent of the population.

The number of deaths in August this year decreased 1.1 percent from the previous year to 23,677, so the population is still experiencing natural growth as there were 730 more births compared to the number of deaths in the month.

BY CHAE YUN-HWAN [chae.yunhwan@joongang.co.kr]

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