ANKARA – South Korea recorded the lowest childbirths in 40 years during the second quarter of this year while deaths rose to an all-time high, local media reported on Wednesday.

During the April-June period, 59,961 babies were born across the country, showing a 9.3 percent decline from the previous year, Yonhap News Agency reported, citing Statistics Korea’s latest data.

This is the lowest childbirth during the second quarter since 1981.

The East Asian country is facing a decline in childbirth because many young people are distancing themselves from marriage and having children due to the lack of decent job opportunities, high home prices, and heavy private education fees.

The country’s death rate, however, increased during this period. A record number of 90,406 people died, recording a 20 percent increase from the previous year, according to the report.

South Korea’s population has also decreased over the last 32 months.

In 2020, the government announced more incentives for families to encourage more births amid falling figures.

Despite the government’s efforts, the country's total fertility rate, which refers to the average number of children a woman bears in her lifetime, came to 0.75 in the second quarter, down from 0.92 a year earlier, the agency reported. (Anadolu)