WORLD

South Korea struggles to maintain demography

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South Korea is mulling to implement comprehensive measures to tackle demographic challenges as a result of drop in number of newborns, local media reported on Wednesday.

South Korea's news agency Yonhap quoted Statistics Korea data showing that the number of newborns in the far east country fell by 6.2 percent in January compared to last year.

"[The fresh data is] a continuing sign of the low birthrate that has plagued Asia's fourth-largest economy for more than a decade," Yonhap said.

Some 30,300 babies were born in January, compared to 32,300 babies recorded in the same month of 2018, according to the Statistics Korea data.

"It marks the lowest number of newborns reported for any January since 1981, when the statistics agency started compiling data on newborns on a monthly basis," the report said.

The data showed that 1970 recorded the highest number of 1 million newborn in the country. However, it added that the number of newborns in South Korea came to 326,900 in 2018, witnessing a sharp decline.

"The government will set up a task force next month to come up with comprehensive measures to tackle demographic challenges," South Korea's Economy and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki was quoted as saying.

Earlier this month, the South Korean government data showed that young people delayed marriage due to "a prolonged economic slowdown".

More than 257,500 people got married last year compared to some 264,500 in 2017, according to the Statistics Korea.

"The number of people tying the knot came to 21,300 in January, the lowest for any first month of the year since 1981. The number of South Koreans getting married stood at 49,285 in January 1981," Yonhap reported the data of statistics agency.

The report also said that high cost of private education for kids and skyrocketing real estate prices, as well as the difficulties women face in finding jobs after spending extended time away from work to raise children are some of the reasons behind drop in number of newborns.

"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," Yonhap reported.

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