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All regions except Sejong expected to see population dwindling in 2033

All regions except Sejong expected to see population dwindling in 2033

Posted June. 28, 2019 07:31,   

Updated June. 28, 2019 07:31


The southwestern city of Gwangju will join the ranks of South Korean cities where the number of deaths exceeds that of newborns, bringing the total number of metropolitan cities with dwindling population to 10. By 2033, all regions in the nation, except Sejong city, will likely see their population decreasing.

Statistics Korea, a state-run statistical agency, announced the forecasts in a report released Thursday. The population estimation by region follows a March report forecasting the country's total population will start to naturally decrease next year in a worst-case scenario.

A decreasing population would result in a sharp increase in younger generations' burdens of supporting older population. The number of people at ages 65 or older and 14 or younger to be supported by 100 productive age population between the ages of 15 to 64 stood at 36.7 in 2017. The number could surge to 90.9 in 2047. In other words, every three economically productive people support one now, while the ratio could reach nearly one to one in 30 years. That is because the productive-age population of 3.75 million as of 2017 are projected to plunge to 2.56 million in 30 years. In 2047, productive-age population are forecast to be smaller than non-productive population.

The median age is expected to rise from 42 in 2017 to 56.8 in 2047. Regions with less industrial facilities will likely have rapidly aging population. For example, the median ages in South Jeolla, North Gyeongsang and Gangwon provinces are projected to exceed 60 in 30 years.

The prospects are based on a medium-growth assumption that all scenarios including births and deaths grow at a medium level. Under a low-growth assumption of continued birth rate decreases, the natural population decrease and costs of support will rise further.

Jun-Il Kim jikim@donga.com