South Korea Continues Decline in Population as Births and Marriages Decrease


On Wednesday, Statistics Korea released data showing that South Korea continued to experience a natural decrease in population in July due to the rapid aging of the population, along with a record-breaking low in the number of babies born.

19,102 babies were born in July, a 6.7 percent decrease from the previous year. This was the first time since the agency began collecting data in 1981 that the number of births in July dropped below 20,000. Meanwhile, the number of deaths rose 8.3 percent to 28,238, leading to a natural decrease in population of 9,137.

The trend of deaths outnumbering births has been ongoing for 45 months. Additionally, marriages declined 5.3 percent to 14,155, and divorces decreased 0.5 percent to 7,500.

The agency also reported that South Korea’s total fertility rate, the average number of children a woman will have in her lifetime, was 0.7 in the second quarter of 2023. This is a 0.05 decrease from the previous year, and is much lower than the replacement level of 2.1 that would be necessary to keep the population stable at 51 million.

Shoppers purchase baby products at a shopping mall in Seoul in this file photo taken on Dec. 13, 2022. (Yonhap)

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