SEOUL, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- Childbirth in South Korea hit a new record low last year, boosting worry about low growth potential caused by a falling workforce, statistics agency data showed Wednesday.
The number of newborn babies reached a record low of 357,700 in 2017, down 11.9 percent from the previous year, according to Statistics Korea. It was the biggest yearly fall in 16 years.
The yearly childbirth, which had hovered over 1 million in 1970s, halved some three decades later, declining below 500,000 in 2002 and below 400,000 in 2017 respectively.
The number of babies, to which a woman of childbearing age is expected to give birth during life, tumbled to 1.05 in 2017, down 10.3 percent from the previous year. It was the lowest figure ever recorded by the country.
The age of a woman, who gives birth to babies, averaged 32.6 in 2017, up 0.2 from the previous year.
The continued childbirth decline came amid the falling number of women of childbearing age and the social trend to delay marriage and the first childbirth.
The low birth rate has been a headache for the South Korean economy together with its sliding number of workforce and the fast-aging population. The low childbirth and the aging population would drag down the economy's growth potential.