Korea's Birthrate Plunges to New Record Low

  • By Ra Ji-hong

    August 24, 2017 12:26

    Korea's birthrate fell to a record-low 1.04 children per woman during the second quarter of this year, according to Statistics Korea on Wednesday.

    Couples must have at least 2.1 children to sustain the current population level, but at this rate Korea faces a precipitous decline.

    The number of babies born in the first half of this year fell below 200,000 for the first time ever. Some 28,900 children were born in June, down 12.2 percent from the same month last year and the lowest figure since Statistics Korea began tallying such data in 1970.

    In the first six months of this year, 188,400 babies were born, down 12.4 percent on-year.

    Infant cribs are empty in a hospital in Seoul on Wednesday.

    Korea's birthrate declined to 1.076 children per woman in 2005, but recovered slightly to 1.239 in 2015, only to drop to 1.17 last year. That is not only the lowest in the 35-member OECD but even lower than Japan (1.42 children), which has been suffering from a chronic low birthrate and aging population.

    Statistics Korea has said that the population is expected to halve to 26.2 million by 2085 if the birthrate remains at 1.12 children per woman.

    But since the birthrate fell below 1.12 this year, the population is now expected to halve even sooner. It will probably start dwindling much sooner than 2032, the last government projection. 

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