S. Korea’s births keep falling in March

The number of marriages slipped 5.5 percent to 17,198 in March compared with the same month of last year, while the number of divorces decreased 9.8 percent to 7,450.

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Children play with soap bubbles at Namsan Park in Seoul, South Korea, Oct. 23, 2022. (Xinhua/Wang Yiliang)

South Korea’s births kept falling in March, stoking worry about a continued slide in the Asian country’s population, statistical office data showed Wednesday.

The number of newborn babies shrank 7.3 percent from a year earlier to 19,669 in March, marking the lowest March figure since relevant data began to be compiled in 1981, according to Statistics Korea.

The newborns had been on the decline since October 2022 as young couples delayed or gave up on having children due to economic difficulties such as high housing prices and stubborn unemployment.

The low birth rate fueled concerns about a so-called demographic cliff, which refers to a sharp decline in the heads of households eventually leading to a consumption cliff.

The number of marriages slipped 5.5 percent to 17,198 in March compared with the same month of last year, while the number of divorces decreased 9.8 percent to 7,450.

The number of deaths increased 7.6 percent to 31,160 in the cited month.

Affected by higher deaths and lower births, the country’s population continued to decrease since November 2019.

Xinhua News Agency

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