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Korea’s Birthrate Plunges to New Record Low

The country’s birthrate has dropped to the point where the average Korean woman is expected to have only one child throughout her life. The drop is the fastest in the world. If the trend continues, the population will drop some 8.69 million to 39.48 million by 2050, from 48.17 million as of 2005, the government forecast Monday. The National Statistical Office said the number of newborns per woman of childbearing age (15-49) fell to 1.08 last year. A figure below 2.1 means the population is starting to decline.

The nation’s birthrate experienced a dramatic fall from four or five in the 1970s to 1.59 in 1990 and set a new world record in 2001 with 1.3. “If the rate continues to drop at this pace, Korea will become the lone nation in the world with a birthrate below 1 next year,” a Finance Ministry official said....

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