South Korea has once again shattered its own record for the world’s lowest fertility rate as it faces the prospect of its population of 51 million people more than halving by the end of this century.

South Korean women were estimated, based on 2021 data, to have an average of just 0.81 children over their lifetimes, down from 0.84 a year earlier, the statistics office said Wednesday. The number of newborns declined last year to 260,600, which equates to about 0.5% of the population.

South Korea is the world’s fastest-aging nation among economies with gross domestic product per capita of at least $30,000, according to United Nations global population projections and World Bank data. By 2100, its population will fall by 53% to 24 million, up from a 2019 forecast of a 43% decline.