SEJONG-- South Korea again saw a steep slide in the number of newborn babies in September as the country is expected to experience record low childbirths in 2017, government data showed Wednesday.

About 30,100 babies were born in the month, down 12.5 percent, or 4,300, from 34,400 tallied a year earlier, according to the data from Statistics Korea.

The monthly childbirths have decreased every single month since December 2015 with a double-digit decline continuing for 10 straight months.

The number of newborn kids is expected to reach around 360,000 for 2017, breaking the current annual record low of 406,200 babies tallied in 2016.

Coupled with a rapidly aging population, low births can reduce the available workforce in Asia's fourth-largest economy and drive up welfare costs, undermining the growth potential of the economy.

Meanwhile, the statistics data also showed that the number of marriages edged up 0.6 percent on-year to 17,900 in September, while 9,400 couples divorced over the cited period, up 3.3 percent from a year earlier.

The number of deaths came to 22,600 for the month, up 2.3 percent from a year earlier, the data showed.

Source: Yonhap News Agency