Births drop 10.4 percent in April
The number of babies born in Korea dropped 10.4 percent in April from a year earlier, data showed Wednesday, in the latest sign underscoring the low birthrate that has plagued the country for more than a decade.
The data compiled by Statistics Korea showed that 23,420 babies were born in April, compared with 26,151 tallied in the same month of 2019.
It marks the lowest number of newborns for any April since the statistics agency started compiling monthly data on newborns in 1981.
In the first four months of this year, 97,470 babies were born in Korea, down 10.9 percent from a year ago.
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.
Last year marked the second consecutive year for the rate to fall below 1. Korea was the only member of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that had a total fertility rate below 1.
The 2019 figure is far below the replacement level of 2.1 that would keep Korea's population stable at 51 million. It is also a sharp drop from the 4.53 in 1970, when the government began to compile related data.
The crude birthrate — the number of births per 1,000 people per year — also came to a new low of 5.9 in 2019, down from the previous year's 6.4.