Yet another sign that the over-population problem no longer exists and that the crisis the world faces is one of de-population.
South Korea recorded more deaths than births in 2020 for the first time ever in the country which already has the world's lowest birth rate.
Only 275,800 babies were born last year, down 10% from 2019. Around 307,764 people died.
A declining population puts immense strain on a country. Apart from increased pressure on public spending as demand for healthcare systems and pensions rise, a declining youth population also leads to labour shortages that have a direct impact on the economy.
South Korea launched several policies aimed at addressing the low birth rate, including cash incentives for families. Under the scheme, from 2022, every child born will receive a cash bonus of 2 million won ($1,850; £1,350) to help cover prenatal expenses, on top of a monthly payout of 300,000 won handed out until the baby turns one. The incentive will increase to 500,000 won every month from 2025.
One cause of the dropping birth rate is because in South Korea, women struggle to achieve a balance between work and other life demands.
Another reason is rising real estate prices are another major issue. Rapidly rising property prices also discourage young couples. In order to have children, you need to have your own home. But this has become an impossible dream in Korea. The population of the country’s capital, Seoul, fell by just over 60,000 last year
The number of older people, those aged 60 and over, account for 24% of the total. South Korea’s birth rate – the average number of children a woman has during her lifetime – dropped to a record low of 0.92 in 2019, the lowest among all members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. That is well below the rate of 2.1 it needs to keep its population stable, and a sharp drop from 50 years ago, when the birth rate stood at 4.53.
If current trends persist, the government predicts South Korea’s population will drop to 39 million by 2067, when more than 46% of the population will be aged over 64.