Seoul's Population Keeps Dwindling

      July 31, 2012 12:46

      The population of Seoul has continued to decline for a fifth consecutive quarter as childbirth remains low. The Seoul metropolitan government said Sunday the registered population stood at 10.49 million as of the second quarter this year, down 201,081 or 0.2 percent from the first quarter.

      Until recently, people from the provinces flocked to the capital in search of jobs, overcrowding the city and jacking up real estate prices. But now the backlash has begun in earnest.

      Seoul's population began to decline in the first quarter of 2011, dropping 0.11 percent from 10.58 million to 10.57 million in the following quarter. The decline continued this year as well with the population of the capital falling 8,994 people (0.09 percent) in the first quarter of 2012.

      "The population decline stems from the rising number of single people in the capital while young married couples continue to leave the city in search of cheaper housing, which causes the number of newborns in Seoul to decrease," said Lee Sam-sik at the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs. Baby boomers who are now in their late 40s and 50s also move out to satellite cities once their children have grown up.

      Seoul's population also keeps aging. As of the second quarter of this year, 1.08 million people in the capital were over 65, accounting for 10.32 percent of the total population of Seoul, up from 1.071 million or 10.18 percent in the first quarter. People over 65 or more accounted for only 7.1 percent in 2005.

      "By 2020, five working people will have to support one senior citizen, and by 2030 three working people will have to support one senior citizen," said Hwang Jong-sung at the Seoul Metropolitan Government.

      The district in the capital with the highest population is Songpa south of the Han River, home to 689,120 people. Next are Nowon-gu (605,162) and Gangseo (574,994). Jung in central Seoul has the lowest population at 143,957. For every 100 females, there are 97.8 males.

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