Childbirths hit all-time low in May; deaths rise to recordThe number of babies born in Korea dipped to a record low in May due to the chronically low birthrate, while deaths hit an all-time high amid rapid aging and the Covid-19 pandemic, data showed Wednesday.
A total of 20,007 babies were born in May, down 8.8 percent from the previous year, according to data from Statistics Korea.
It marked the lowest for any May since the statistics agency started compiling related data in 1981.
Korea has been grappling with a chronic fall in births as many young people delay or give up on getting married or having babies amid an economic slowdown and high housing prices, coupled with changing social norms about marriages.
The country's total fertility rate - the average number of children a woman bears in her lifetime - hit an all-time low of 0.81 last year, down from 0.84 the previous year. It was the fourth straight year the rate was below 1.
Rapid aging and the pandemic pushed up the number of deaths to a record high in May, data showed.
The number of deaths came to 28,859 in the cited period, up 12.8 percent from a year ago, marking the 15th straight month of increase.
It was the highest for any May since the agency started compiling related data in 1983. It also marked the fastest on-year rise for any May.
Korea suffered its worst virus wave in March, with daily virus cases jumping to over 620,000 at one point. Covid-19 deaths hit an all-time high of 469 on March 24.
As the number of deaths outpaced that of births, the country's population decreased by 8,852 in May, the 31st straight month of decline. It was the steepest drop for any May to date.
Korea reported the first natural fall in population in 2020, as the grim demographic trend has continued.
Meanwhile, the number of people getting married rose 5.5 percent on-year to 17,041, but the rise was the second smallest in history.
Amid the downtrend of marriages, more people have postponed or delayed weddings due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the agency said.
Divorces slid 0.9 percent on-year to 8,372, the data showed.