] The number of newborns in South Korea continued to be at a low ebb in August, shadowed by a low birthrate and a late marriage trend, government data showed on Oct. 27.
About 33,900 babies were born in August, down 3.7 percent, or 1,300, from 35,200 a year earlier, extending the losing streak to nine straight months since December last year, according to the data released by Statistics Korea.
The number of marriages, however, rose 5.5 percent on-year to 23,000 in August, turning around from a 10-month low of 21,200 in July, while 9,400 couples divorced, up 8 percent from a year earlier.
The August number of deaths inched up 5.6 percent to 22,700 from a year ago, the data showed.
Coupled with rapid aging, the low birthrate has been regarded as one of the biggest threats to the South Korean economy in terms of reduced workforce and increased welfare costs, undermining the growth potential of Asia’s fourth-largest economy.
The latest census data showed that people aged over 65 years made up 13.2 percent of all its citizens of 51 million last year.
The country‘s fertility rate, or the average number of babies that a woman is projected to have during her lifetime, has hovered around 1.2 in recent years, despite the government’s constant efforts to encourage people to have more children.