South Korea’s births fall for 88th straight month, fuelling demographic cliff concerns

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24th May 2023 – (Hong Kong) South Korea’s birthrate has continued to decline for the 88th consecutive month in March, with the latest data from the country’s statistical office sparking concerns about a so-called demographic cliff. The number of newborn babies in March was 21,138, a decrease of 8.1% compared to the same month last year. This is the lowest figure recorded for March since records began in 1981.

The decline in the number of newborns has been ongoing since December 2015, as more young people delay or forgo having children due to economic difficulties such as high housing prices and education costs. This low birth rate has fueled concern about the so-called demographic cliff, which refers to a sharp decline in the number of heads of households, eventually leading to a consumption cliff.

Despite the decline in the number of newborns, the number of marriages increased by 18.8% from the previous year to 18,192 in March, following the lifting of measures taken against the COVID-19 pandemic. On the other hand, the number of divorces rose by 4.7% to 8,255 in the same month.

The number of deaths in March decreased by 35.2% to 28,922 due to the weakened pandemic effect. However, the country’s population continued to decline for the 41st consecutive month sinceNovember 2019, affected by the high number of deaths and the ongoing decline in births.

The low birthrate in South Korea has been a persistent concern for the government and society in recent years. The country has one of the lowest birthrates in the world, which is expected to lead to a rapidly aging population and a shortage of workers in the future. This, in turn, could have significant negative impacts on the country’s economy and society as a whole.

The government has introduced various policies and incentives to encourage people to have more children, including financial support for families with young children and measures to reduce the cost of housing and education. However, these efforts have yet to produce significant results, and the birthrate has continued to decline.

Experts say that addressing the root causes of the low birthrate, such as economic difficulties and changing social attitudes towards marriage and parenthood, is crucial to reversing the trend. They also stress the need for a comprehensive approach that involves not only the government but also the private sector and civil society.

As South Korea’s population continues to age and decline, the country faces significant challenges in maintaining its economic and social stability. The government and society as a whole must work together to address the underlying issues and find ways to ensure a sustainable future for the country and its people.