May 28, 2012 09:19
Korea's population rises by 0.43 persons a minute and is set to reach 50 million on June 23, Statistics Korea said Sunday. It tallied the number of people including foreign workers who live here for more than three months at 49.77 million.
According to a study by the Chosun Ilbo and the LG Economic Research Institute, Korea is the first country since 1996 whose population crossed the 50-million mark amid a per-capita income of about US$20,000. The last was the U.K., which in turn followed Japan, the U.S., France, Italy and Germany.
Once countries with populations over 50 million have a per-capita income over $20,000, they usually maintain that level or grow. The only exception is Germany, where per-capita income briefly fell below $20,000 due to reunification in the early 1990s.
Yoon Chang-hyun of the Korea Institute of Finance said Korea is the only former colony that became independent after World War II to grow that much. "University of Chicago economist Robert Lucas referred to Korea's economic growth as a 'miracle' and these figures bear that out," Yoon added.
Korea's population has doubled since 1960. While its per-capita income remains relatively low in absolute terms, in terms of purchasing power the figure was nearer $29,997 in 2010, ahead of Italy ($29,480) and almost at the level of Japan ($33,885) and France ($33,910), which also have populations of over 50 million.
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