The number of newborns in South Korea dipped again in October, government data showed Wednesday, in the latest sign of the chronic low birth rate that has plagued the Asian country for more than a decade.
About 27,900 babies were born in October, down 11.7 percent, or 3,700, from 31,600 tallied a year earlier, according to the data from Statistics Korea.
Monthly childbirths have decreased on-year every single month since December 2015 with a double-digit decline continuing for 11 straight months.
The number of newborns is expected to reach around 360,000 for this year, breaking the current annual record low of 406,200 babies tallied in 2016, according to officials.
On Tuesday, President Moon Jae-in called for more effective measures to boost South Korea's low fertility rate as he warned of a serious demographic crisis.
South Korea has spent 100 trillion won (US$93 billion) over the past decade to tackle the low birth rate, though no significant progress has been made yet.
Many young people delay marriage as they cannot find decent jobs after graduating university, which in turn has led to a low birth rate.
South Korea's total fertility rate -- the average number of children a woman bears in her lifetime -- stood at 1.17 in 2016, much lower than the replacement level of 2.1 that would keep South Korea's population of 51 million stable.
Coupled with a rapidly aging population, low births can reduce the available workforce in Asia's fourth-largest economy and drive up welfare costs, which in turn could undermine the economy's growth potential.
Meanwhile, the number of marriages dropped 20.9 percent on-year to 17,400 in October, while 8,400 couples divorced during the cited period, down 5.6 percent from a year earlier, according to the data.
The number of deaths came to 24,600 for the month, up 4.2 percent from a year earlier, the data showed. (Yonhap)
|This file photo, taken on Feb. 22, 2017, shows a nearly empty infant unit of a hospital in Seoul, when Statistics Korea announced that the number of babies born in 2016 reached 406,300, the lowest since 1970 when the statistics agency started to compile such data. (Yonhap)|
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