SEOUL, July 29 (Xinhua) — South Korea’s childbirth posted the lowest May figure, fueling worry about a so-called demographic cliff, statistical office data showed Wednesday.
The number of newborn babies was 23,001 in May, down 9.3 percent from a year ago, according to Statistics Korea.
It marked the lowest May reading since relevant data began to be compiled in 1981. The childbirth kept sliding for 54 straight months since December 2015.
For the first five months of this year, the childbirth slumped 10.6 percent compared to the same period of last year.
The continued slide in newborns came amid the rising social trend of delayed marriage and the falling number of women who are of childbearing age.
The number of marriages tumbled 21.3 percent over the year to 18,145 in May, logging the lowest May figure.
The number of divorces dipped 9.5 percent to 8,929 in the cited month.
The falling childbirth raised concerns about the demographic cliff, which refers to a sudden drop in the heads of household eventually leading to a consumption cliff.
The low birth rate has been a headache for the economy as it leads to the lower workforce amid the rapidly-aging population, which could drag down the country’s growth potential.
The number of deaths stood at 24,353 in May, down 1.6 percent from a year earlier.
Because of the faster fall in childbirth than the death, the country’s population continued to skid for the seventh consecutive month. Enditem
LINK ORIGINAL: Xinhuanet