South Korea’s birth rate hits another record low

SEOUL, June 27 (UPI) — The number of babies born in South Korea continues to fall as the birth rate reached a new record low in April, according to a monthly population index by Statistics Korea.

Some 27,700 babies were born in April, a 9 percent drop from the previous year.

The birth rate was one of the lowest compared to the same month in 2016 and 2017. In April 2017, some 34,000 babies were born, down from 35,100 a year earlier.

The number of babies born from January to April hit a record low of 117,300 since the government started tracking monthly rates in 1981.

The rate declined in big cities, including Seoul, Busan and Daegu, while other cities maintained a similar rate as last year.

The statistics office finds part of the reason for the decline may be the population of women with the highest fertility rate fell by 11 percent compared to last year, Yonhap reported.

The statistic also shows the number of deaths at 24,000, up 4 percent over the year before — with the combined number of deaths at 105,800 from January to April.

As part of the effort to increase the birth rate, the South Korean government is offering a 100,000-won ($89.48) monthly “children’s allowance” starting September to families with children under six. The government limits the financial support to households where monthly income falls under 19 million won ($17,613).

Some 1,080,000 families children under six have applied for the allowance, since the government opened registration last week.

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