Korea’s childbirth hits record low in six months

South Korea’s childbirth has hit a record low in the last six months, fueling worry about the so-called demographic cliff, statistical office data showed on Wednesday.

The number of newborn babies stood at 136,917 in the January-June period, down by 3.5 per cent from a year earlier, according to Statistics Korea.

It marked the lowest first-half figure since data began to be compiled in 1981.

The newborns kept skidding amid the growing social trend of delayed marriage and the falling number of women who were of childbearing age.

The number of marriages diminished by 11.9 per cent over the year to 96,265 in the first half, logging the lowest first-half reading.

The low birth rate boosted concerns about the demographic cliff, which refers to a drop in the heads of households eventually leading to a consumption cliff.

During the April-June quarter, the number of newborns shrank by 2.7 per cent from a year earlier to 66,398, recording the lowest second-quarter reading.

The total fertility rate, which refers to the average number of babies that a woman was forecast to have during her lifetime, slightly fell to a new second-quarter low of 0.82 per cent.

The number of marriages reduced by 5.4 per cent from the previous year to 48,249 in the second quarter, and the number of divorces slipped by 2.7 per cent to 26,224.

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