The number of babies born in South Korea fell 3.1 percent in October from a year earlier, data showed Thursday, in the latest evidence underscoring the low birthrate that has plagued Korea's economy for more than a decade.
The data compiled by Statistics Korea showed that 25,648 infants were born in October, compared with 26,474 tallied in the same month of 2018.
It marks the lowest number of newborns for any October since 1981, when the statistics agency started compiling monthly data on newborns.
In the first 10 months of this year, 257,065 babies were born in South Korea, down 7.5 percent from a year ago.
In 2018, South Korea's total fertility rate -- the average number of children a woman bears in her lifetime -- hit a record low of 0.98, much lower than the replacement level of 2.1 that would keep South Korea's population stable at 51 million.
The decline in childbirths comes as some young South Koreans are opting to distance themselves from life's three major milestones -- dating, marriage and having children -- because they cannot find decent jobs amid a prolonged economic slowdown.
Other factors are the high cost of private education for kids and skyrocketing home prices, as well as the difficulties women face in finding jobs after spending extended time away from work to raise children.
The number of South Koreans getting married fell 7 percent on-year to 20,331 in October.
In October, 25,520 people died, up 2 percent from a year ago, according to the data. (Yonhap)