Childbirths decline for 7th straight month in July

SEJONG, Sept. 26 (Yonhap) -- Childbirths in South Korea fell for the seventh straight month in July amid worries over the country's chronically low birthrate, a government report showed Thursday.

According to the report by Statistics Korea, the number of babies born in July came to about 36,400, down 9.2 percent, or 3,700, from the same month a year earlier. This marked the seventh straight month that childbirths have declined since January.

The latest childbirth report comes as South Korea is pushing to raise the birthrate in the country, whose decline is feared to eventually shrink the overall working population, increase welfare expenses and undercut the country's growth potential.

The report showed that the number of marriages rose 11.9 percent, or 2,900, on-year to 27,300 in July. This is the third straight month that the figure has increased since May.

Divorces also rose 5.9 percent, or 600, over the same period to 10,800, while the number of deaths in July inched up 0.5 percent, or 100, to 20,500, the report showed.

In a separate report, the agency said that the number of people changing their residence in August declined 4.5 percent on-year to about 560,000.

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