SEOUL, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's childbirth hit a record monthly low in September, boosting worry about low growth potential amid a falling workforce, statistics agency data showed Wednesday.
The number of newborn babies was 30,100 in September, down 4,300, or 12.5 percent, from a year earlier, according to Statistics Korea. The September figure was the lowest since the agency began compiling the data in 2000.
The country's childbirth posted a double-digit fall for 10 straight months. The number kept sliding since December 2015.
For the first nine months of this year, the childbirth was 278,100, down 12.2 percent compared with the same period of last year.
The double-digit decline was attributable to the falling number of women of childbearing age and the social trend to delay marriage and the first childbirth.
The number of marriage inched up 0.6 percent from a year earlier to 17,900 in September.
The country's childbirth continued to fall since 2013 except for the increase of 3,000 in 2015. The downward trend for the first nine months of this year heralded a fresh yearly low in 2017.
The low birth rate has been a headache for the South Korean economy as it reduces the workforce amid the fast-aging population. The low childbirth and the aging population would drag down the economy's growth potential.
President Moon Jae-in's government has vowed to actively address the prolonged low childbirth. The finance ministry has created a new department to specifically deal with low childbirth and the aging population through efforts such as reducing living costs to help raise children.