Number of new babies in S. Korea hits record low in 2017

Lim Chang-won Reporter Posted : 2018-02-28 13:55 Updated : 2018-02-28 14:03
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[Courtesy of Jaeil Hospital]

SEOUL, Feb. 28 (Aju News) --  The number of babies born last year fell 11.9 percent on-year to a record low of 357,700, data showed Wednesday, sparking concerns South Korea's depopulation and aging society would come faster than expected.

The fertility rate, or the average number of babies that a woman is projected to have during her lifetime, hit a record low of 1.05 last year, according to Statistics Korea. The state agency predicts that if the current trend continues, South Korea is expected to see a decrease in population in 2027.

South Korea has spent an enormous amount of money on tackling its aging population and a low birthrate. Various government incentives including cash rewards have been offered to have more children, but an increasing number of women work and want to hold onto their career, leading them to delay marriage and have children late.

In 2017,  264,500 couples got married, down 6.1 percent from a year ago. Many young people are less interested in marriage or having children due to costly housing expenses, unstable employment and high living and wedding costs, accelerating a low fertility rate.

The number of deaths rose 1.7 percent on-year to 285,600 last year, marking the largest annual death toll since 1983.