Korea's Population to Dwindle Below 50 Million Next Year

  • By Hwang Ji-yoon

    April 15, 2022 12:38

    Faced with an ultra-low birth rate and rapid aging, Korea's population will fall below 50 million next year, much sooner than projected only a few years ago.

    According to Statistics Korea on Thursday, the population of Korean citizens already stands at barely 50.03 million as of present and will plunge to 49.92 million in 2023 and to 48.03 million in 2040 at the current pace.

    Including foreign residents, the country's total population is also expected to decline from the current 51.63 million to 50.19 million in 2040. But foreigners will make up for some of the shortfall as immigration increases, rising from 1.6 million or 3.1 percent of the population to 2.16 million or 4.3 percent over the period. 

    Korea is also graying rapidly. The population of people over 65 will increase from 8.92 million or 17.8 percent of the population this year to 16.98 million or a whopping 35.3 percent in 2040.

    Korea will become an "ultra-aged" society with more than 20 percent of its population over 65 in 2025, when 10.45 million people will be 65 or older.

    The working-age population aged 15 to 64 will fall apace from 35.26 million this year to just 26.76 million in 2040 or only about half of the total population. It will dwindle by 350,000 a year on average this decade, when the baby-boomers born between 1955 and 1963 reach pensionable age, and then decline by 550,000 a year in the next decade.

    That means the number of senior citizens every 100 people in the working-age population must support will multiply from 25.3 to 63.4 over the next 18 years. 

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