Report Predicts Older, Multicultural Korea on Stilts

      September 04, 2009 09:06

      The Korea of 40 years hence will look very different from now, an aged, multicultural society with a small population.

      By 2050, nearly 10 percent of the Korean population will be foreigners, and the proportion of the population aged 65 or older will increase more than threefold to 38.2 percent. The predictions come from a report released by the Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements on Thursday.

      The most striking difference will be the population structure. The population will decline by more than 6 million to 42.63 million, while the number of foreigners will swell to 4.09 million thanks to an influx of workers from abroad. Foreigners will therefore account for 9.8 percent. Currently, only one in every 45 residents is a foreigner.

      Climate change is expected to have enormous influence on Korean people's lives. Massive flooding, drought and earthquakes will occur more frequently. Urban areas will likely look very different, as many facilities will be built on stilts over the water or in the water, with usable land reduced due to rising sea levels.

      With major resources such as oil and gas drying up on a global scale, Korea's distribution rate of new renewable energies will rise from the current 1.4 percent to more than 20 percent by 2050.

      In the world market, the U.S. will go downhill, while new economies will emerge. By 2050, the economic scale of the new economies Brazil, Russia, India and China, Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey will have grown by 50 percent more than the G7, the group of seven advanced nations. The Chinese economy will have overtaken the American economy and the Indian economy will have nearly approached the U.S. level.

      The KRIHS predicted that robots will by 2050 have substituted human beings in 50 percent of labor hours on a global scale, while human beings will do only creative and intellectual jobs. The introduction of super-speed aircraft will make it possible to travel to and from any place around the world in a day, and new kinds of transport will take the place of cars.

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