SEOUL, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's top economic policymaker vowed Thursday to actively address a prolonged low childbirth to raise its growth potential.
Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon, who doubles as deputy prime minister for economic affairs, told reporters that he was significantly worried about the country's long-term growth potential given the low birth rate, according to local media reports.
According to the statistical agency data, the number of newborn babies in South Korea kept falling for 19 straight months through June when about 28,900 babies were born.
The June figure was down 12.2 percent from a year earlier. The newborns continued to fall since December 2015.
For the first six months of this year, childbirths amounted to 188,500, down 12.3 percent compared with the same period of last year.
The low birthrate has been a headache for the economy as it reduces the workforce amid the fast-aging population. The low childbirth and the population aging would drag down the economy's growth potential.
The finance minister said that if the current trend continues, the annualized birth rate of the country would decline to the lowest in the world.
He vowed to re-organize the ministry to create a new department in charge of low childbirth and the population aging as part of efforts to reduce living costs necessary to raise children.