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S. Korea reports first ever population loss in 2021; fertility rate at new record low
Updated: 2022-03-25 08:03:51 KST

South Korea, for the first time, saw its total population actually decline last year.
This is according to an annual report on society from Statistics Korea.
The report for 2021, released on Thursday, shows that South Korea's population was 51.7-5 million.
This is a fall of 90-thousand from the peak a year before.
And because of the country's low birth rate, the population is expected to keep shrinking for the foreseeable future, falling as low as 50 million by 2040.

The total fertility rate dropped to a new record low for a 5th straight year at zero.8-1 births per woman.
That figure is the lowest in the OECD,. well below the average of 1.61 in 2019.

This came as the number of marriages also dropped to an all-time low of 193-thousand last year.
And with more people choosing to live alone or not have babies, family size in South Korea shrunk to an average of just 2.3 members.
That was down almost point-8 members from a decade ago.

Adding to that, the pandemic has only weakened social connection.
Only 2 in 10 people said they had someone who they can talk to when feeling depressed, down from 6 in 10 people in 2019.
And the depression was apparently felt more by people who were less well-off.

On a positive note, South Korea's job market continued to recover, with the employment rate rising to 60.5 percent,. up point-4 percentage points on year.
Also, the number of crimes reported per 100-thousand people dropped to just over 33-hundred, a decline of more than 14 percent from a decade ago.
Kim Sung-min, Arirang News.
Reporter : smkim@arirang.com