SEOUL, Jan. 26 (Yonhap) -- The number of babies born in South Korea fell to a record low in November last year, data showed Wednesday, underpinning the country's gloomy demographic situation with the chronically low birth rate.
A total of 19,800 babies were born in November, down 1.3 percent from the previous year, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.
It marked the lowest for any November since 1981, when the statistics agency began compiling related data.
In the first 11 months of last year, 244,016 babies were born in the country, down 3.4 percent from the previous year.
South Korea is struggling with a chronic decline in childbirths as many young people delay and give up on getting married or having babies amid a prolonged economic slowdown and skyrocketing housing prices.
South Korea's total fertility rate hit a record low of 0.84 in 2020. It marked the third straight year that the rate was below 1 percent.
The number of deaths, meanwhile, increased for the ninth straight month in November amid rapid aging and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency said.
The number of deaths came to 28,426 in the month, up 11 percent from a year earlier.
It marked the highest for any November since 1983, when the agency started compiling related data.
In the January-November period, the number of deaths rose 2.8 percent on-year to 285,892.
Accordingly, the country's population declined by a record high of 8,626 in November, marking the 25th consecutive month of decline.
In the first 11 months of the year, the county reported a natural fall of population by 41,876.
South Korea reported the first natural decline in population in 2020, as the number of deaths outpaced that of newborns.
Meanwhile, the number of people getting married fell 6 percent on-year to 17,088 in November. It was also the lowest for any November.
Amid the downtrend of marriages, more people postponed or delayed their weddings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the statistics office.
Divorces declined 1.2 percent to 8,770 in the month, the data showed.