Seoul will have a predominantly aged population by 2019 and a super-aged population by 2026.
The UN classifies a society as aging if people over 65 account for seven to 14 percent of the total population. If people aged 65 or above account for more than 14 percent, it is classified as an aged society, and as super-aged if the proportion exceeds 20 percent.
According to a forecast by the Seoul Metropolitan Government on Tuesday, residents of the capital over 65 accounted for 10.9 percent of the total population in 2013, rising to 12 percent in 2015 and 14.3 percent in 2019. That means Seoul will shift from an aging to aged society in three years.
The proportion of senior citizens in the capital increases 0.8 percentage point every year to reach 20 percent in 2026, according to the forecast.
By 2033, 25.3 percent of residents will be senior citizens, accounting for slightly more than a quarter. The median age will rise from 40.6 this year to 42 in 2019 and 45.3 in 2026.
This trend will increase the fiscal burden younger residents will have to shoulder. The proportion of the working-age population in the capital (15 to 64) will fall from 75.6 percent this year to 68.5 percent 10 years down the road. And the number of senior citizens each working-age resident will have to support will rise from 0.17 this year to 0.29 in 2026.
Lee Chul-hee at Seoul National University said, "Poverty among senior citizens will become the biggest problem in a super-aged society. People need to make sure household finances are solid starting in their 40s and learn new skills so they can find new work after retirement."