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40 Pct. of Koreans Will Be Elderly by 2050

Posted July. 11, 2009 09:26,   


The national population is expected to begin declining from 2018, with the country to have 6.41 million fewer people in 2050.

The population of those aged 65 or older will rise from 10 percent now to 40 percent in 2050.

The National Statistical Office yuesterday released its forecasts for population based on U.N. predictions for the world population released on World Population Day (July 11).

As of July 1, the global population was 6.83 billion but is expected to grow 34 percent to 9.15 billion by 2050. Nevertheless, Korea’s population is likely to decline 13.2 percent from 48.75 million to 42.34 million over the same period.

Among 35 nations whose populations are expected to decline, Korea will rank 18th in the pace of decline. Among member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Korea is expected to rank fourth in the pace of population decline behind Japan (minus 20.1 percent), Poland (minus 15.9 percent) and Germany (minus 14.2 percent).

Korea is suffering from low population growth resulting from a low birth rate. Between 2005 and next year, the world population is expected to grow 1.18 percent and that of developed nations 0.34 percent per year. In comparison, Korea’s population is estimated to grow a mere 0.3 percent over the same period.

The pace of aging will get faster in Korea as a result of the world’s lowest birth rate and advanced medical technologies. The share of people aged 65 or older will grow sharply from 11 percent next year to 38.2 percent in 2050. That of Koreans aged 80 or more will surge from 1.9 percent to 14.5 percent over the same period.

Korea’s median age, or the age at which half the population is older and half is younger, is also expected to jump from 37.3 years this year to 56.7 years in 2050, higher than the world’s median age average of 38.4 years and that of developed nations of 45.6 years. That means Korean society will have fewer children and more senior citizens.