S. Korea’s Average Age to Reach 53 in 2050 open the window of AOD

Write : 2017-07-16


South Korea is expected to officially become an aged society next year, with the average age of the population forecast to reach 53 by 2050, as the nation is set to become the most aged country in the world.
These forecasts have hastened concerns of a demographic cliff.
According to the Ministry of the Interior, the average age of the South Korean population stood at 41.2 years as of March. This figure was 26 in 1980 when childbirth was discouraged. It neared 30 in 1990, rose to 37 in 2008, and topped 40 for the first time in 2014.
Aging is a global trend but the concern is the pace at which it is progressing in Korea, where the rate is among the fastest in the world.
At present, seniors 65 and older account for 13.8 percent of the population, making Korea an aging society in categorical definition. This percentage will top 14 percent next year for Korea to then be classified as an aged society.
If the trend continues, seniors will take up over a fifth of the population by 2026 as the nation turns into a super aged society. By 2050, Korea is expected to become the most aged country in the world with its average age reaching 53.
The number of childbirths posted an all-time low in the first quarter, while the working age population has begun to shrink from this year.
Statistics Korea says the nation's total fertility rate recorded 1.17 last year which is among the lowest globally. The total fertility rate is the average number of children women would have in their childbearing period.
One million babies were born in Korea each year in the 1970s. This has dropped to some 406-thousand last year, with forecasts of just 200-thousand by the year 2060.
There’s growing concern the population may decrease faster and more sharply than previously expected.
Even more worrying is the working age population, which has begun to decline from this year after peaking at 37.6 million last year. At this pace, the working age population will account for less than 48 percent of the total population in 2065, compared to 73 percent in 2015.
A shrinking labor force hinders economic growth, cutting back both output and spending, while the growing elderly population increases social burden.
One study shows Korea's growth rate will drop to zero in 20 years. Labor shortages are expected in the IT, communications, software and medical sectors, where the young generation takes up a large part of the workforce.
According to OECD data, as of 2015, five working age people supported one senior citizen, but the figure is forecast to drop to just 1.25 by the year 2075.
Demographic policies are very much dependent on timing. Pundits are urgently calling for preemptive measures to prevent a demographic cliff from occurring.

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