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The population in South Korea has seen a natural decline for the first time ever in 2020.
According to data released by Statistics Korea on Wednesday, South Korea’s population shrank by 33-thousand last year, as the number of deaths outnumbered births.
The population trend had been on a falling trajectory. While Korea's population grew by more than 200-thousand through 2010, it expanded by only 100-thousand in 2017, 28-thousand in 2018 and just eight-thousand in 2019.
Last year, the number of newborns reached 272-thousand-400, down ten percent from 2019 and the lowest to be posted since related statistics began to be compiled in 1970. It also marked the first time for the annual number of new births to slip into the 200-thousand range.
The number of deaths, meanwhile, grew by nearly three-and-a-half percent to 305-thousand-100 last year, the highest to be posted on record.
According to the head of the statistics agency’s Vital Statistics Division, Kim Soo-young, the falling trend could become worse as the number of marriages took a hit from the COVID-19 pandemic last year, and the number of deaths is expected to grow amid the aging society.