SEOUL, May 24 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's births kept falling for the 88th straight month in March, boosting concerns about a so-called demographic cliff, statistical office data showed Wednesday.
The number of newborn babies was 21,138 in March, down 8.1 percent from the same month of last year, according to Statistics Korea. It marked the lowest March figure since relevant data began to be compiled in 1981.
The newborns have been on the decline since December 2015 as more young people delayed or gave up on having children due to economic difficulties such as high housing prices and education costs.
The low birth rate fueled worry about the demographic cliff, which refers to a sharp fall in the heads of households eventually leading to a consumption cliff.
The number of marriages advanced 18.8 percent from a year earlier to 18,192 in March due to the lifting of measures against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The number of divorces gained 4.7 percent to 8,255 in the cited month.
The number of deaths tumbled 35.2 percent to 28,922 due to the weakened pandemic effect.
Affected by the still high deaths and the births slide, the country's population kept skidding for the 41st successive month since November 2019.