South Korea's total fertility rate marked another record low of 0.72 in 2023, government data showed on Wednesday, as the only member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development with a rate below 1 continues to tackle a fast decline in the number of babies born.

According to the data from government agency Statistics Korea, the total fertility rate, or the average number of children a woman would have in her lifetime, was lower than the previous year's 0.78. The number was far below 2.1 children per woman, which is needed to maintain a population at its current level.

South Korea's total fertility rate has been below 1 since 2018.

Supplied photo shows children at a day care in Seoul. (Kyodo)

An official of the government agency said in a briefing the falling birthrate could be due to the continued decline in the number of marriages since the period of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wednesday's data also showed that the number of babies born last year stood at around 230,000, down 7.7 percent from 2022.

The government has compiled a basic plan on measures to tackle the decreasing number of children every five years since 2006. Between 2006 and 2021, the country spent 280 trillion won ($210 billion) to support women who give birth and raise children.

But these efforts have failed to improve the situation.

With more young people choosing to either postpone or give up on getting married and having babies, concerns have been growing over the country's demographic trends.

The average age of a woman who gave birth to a child reached 33.6, up from 33.5 in 2022, the data showed.

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