Korea's Population on Verge of Shrinking

  • By Ahn Joong-hyeon

    October 16, 2020 13:23

    Korea's population is expected to start dwindling in 2029. According to a population projection released by Statistics Korea Thursday, the country's population, which stands at 51.78 million including resident foreigners, will begin declining from a peak of 51.94 million in 2028.

    By 2040 it will have shrunk to 50.86 million unless mass immigration or a surge in the birthrate bolster it.

    Koreans including naturalized citizens take up 96.7 percent of the population and foreign residents the rest. The native population has already started dwindling this year, corrected by a growing influx of foreigners. But by 2029 the decrease in the native population overtakes the increase in the foreign population.

    At the same time society is aging rapidly. By 2040, one in every three people will be over 65, and their proportion will rise from the current 15.7 percent to a whopping 33.9 percent. That means every Korean of working age will be supporting 0.6 elderly people.

    Meanwhile, the population with foreign backgrounds -- naturalized citizens, second-generation immigrants and resident foreigners -- is predicted to grow from 2.22 million or 4.3 percent of the total population this year to 3.52 million or 6.9 percent in 2040.

    Naturalized citizens will increase from 210,000 to 540,000, second-generation immigrants from 280,000 to 700,000 and foreign residents from 1.73 million to 2.28 million. 

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