May 25, 2016 13:27
Provincial populations are dwindling as deaths simply outnumber births, even as no one moves away to the big city.
According to Statistics Korea, South Jeolla Province's population first shrank naturally in 2013, and Gangwon Province's in 2014.
In North Jeolla Province, net population growth hovers around a mere 400 so far this year, so it will likely become another area to see a natural population decline next year. North Gyeongsang Province is also expected to see more deaths than births in 2017.
In South Jeolla Province, the natural population decrease is getting worse, from 931 in 2013 to 1,400 in 2015. Gangwon Province had a natural population decrease of 342 in 2014 and over 400 last year.
In 2014, only 10,662 babies were born in Gangwon Province, a record low for the province since population statistics started in 1925.
As the trend spreads, the population of the country as a whole will start shrinking naturally in 2030, said Statistics Korea.
A population decline leads to weakening consumption and economic strength, which in turn leads to fewer marriages and births, creating a vicious cycle of decline.
The aged population over 65 is estimated to surpass 10 million by 2025 while the number of newborns will reach only 430,000. As the economically active population aged 15 to 64 will likely dwindle starting next year, the country could also face a labor shortage and a fall in economic growth.
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