Korea’s birthrate hit a historic low in February, statistics from a government agency showed Wednesday.
Data from Statistics Korea showed there were around 27,500 births in February, marking a near 10 percent drop from 32,100 births in the same month of last year.
A total of 357,700 babies were born last year, indicating a steady decline from 406,300 newborns in 2016. The number of births fell about 40 percent over the past 17 years, from 634,500 babies born in 2000.
Women were also more likely to have only one baby in their lifetime, data showed.
Births have been steadily decreasing over the past decade despite the government spending of more than 80 trillion won ($70 billion) to address the low birthrate problem.
The numbers highlight the continuing trend of holding off marriage and babies until later in life. People also got married less, with the number of new marriages falling nearly 12 percent over a year. Data showed about 19,000 unions in February, the lowest number since 1981.
Experts have pointed to the social and economic repercussions of the low birthrate and a rapidly aging population. The number of deaths rose around 9 percent in the past year, totaling about 25,000 in February.
The number of divorces stood at 7,700 in February, falling 13.5 percent from a year ago, according to Statistics Korea.
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