Most Koreans Will Be over 50 by 2050

  • By Hwang Ji-yoon

    May 27, 2022 12:26

    The median age of Koreans is already 45 this year but is expected to reach 58 in the next three decades due to the ultra-low birthrate and rising life expectancy.

    According to Statistics Korea on Thursday, the median age will increase to 50.4 in 2031 and jump to 57.9 in 2050, when the median age of the population in seven more rural provinces and metropolitan districts will likely surpass 60.

    In the administrative city of Sejong, where it is currently the lowest in the country, the median age will also jump from 38.8 this year to 50.9 in 2050.

    The total population of Korea including immigrants will drop below 50 million in 2041 at the current rate. Statistics Korea has estimated the total population will drop from 51.63 million this year to 49.99 million in 2041, plunging to 47.36 million by 2050.

    Elderly people relax in a park in central Seoul on May 31, 2021.

    Seoul's population will also dwindle from 9.41 million this year to 7.99 million over the period.

    Korea's total fertility rate -- the average number of children born to a woman over her lifetime -- has hit new record lows every year since 2015. It was 0.81 last year.

    The natural population decline will occur in all cities and provinces from 2045 as there are more deaths than births. Even Sejong, a city with a relatively high birthrate as young couples have been lured there with housing incentives to relieve overpopulation in the capital area, will be no exception. The population already began to decline naturally in 12 cities and provinces in 2020.

    An aging population also means a labor shortage. The working-age population aged 15-64 will dwindle from 36.68 million or 71 percent of the total population now to 24.19 million or just 51.1 percent in 2050.

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