In 30 years' time, every two adults in Seoul will have to support one elderly person, a massive increase from the current ratio of 7.4 to 1.
Analysis of the 2011 census by Statistics Korea and survey data by the Seoul Metropolitan Government show an increase in the population over 65 and decline among people between 15 and 64.
By 2039, there will be an estimated 2.95 million elderly people and 5.98 million people of working age. As of the end of June this year there were 1.08 million senior citizens and 8.04 million working population.
The trend is sparking fears that many older people will be unable to support themselves. In a poll of 45,605 Seoul citizens last year, 47 percent said they are saving up for retirement, a big jump from 35 percent in 2007.
The most common preparations for life after retirement were insurance (47.2 percent), bank savings (45 percent), public pensions (36 percent), and private pensions (17.3 percent). Only 13.7 percent expect their children to take care of them in later life.
An increase in the elderly population means a growing demand for welfare services. In 2005, 76.9 percent of people aged 60 or over sought welfare services, but in 2011 the figure shot up to 97.3 percent.
The most pressing concern was health with 44.2 percent.