Korea’s economically active to make up just half of population by 2040

2020.10.16 12:41:09

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South Korean population will fall below the 50 million threshold two years later, and the economic active number will barely make up half of the population 20 years later, according to the estimate by the statistics office.

According to Statistics Korea’s 2017-2040 population outlook, South Korean population will start thinning next year. The country’s population that stands at 50.051 million this year is projected to dip below the 50 million mark in 2022 at 49.997 million after declining to 50.029 million next year. The population is expected to reach 48.576 million by 2040.

The data was compiled for the first time by the agency to derive population outlook by policy subject such as pension and welfare, foreigners, and multi-cultural families.

The country’s pitiful birthrate is behind population thinning.

Korea’s total fertility rate – which measures the number of babies a woman is forecast to have during her lifetime – dropped to a historic low of 0.84 in the second quarter. Korea has also seen a decline in natural population since March, in which the number of deaths outnumbers that of births.

The number of Koreans aged 65 or older is also expected to more than double from 8.03 million in 2020 to 16.66 million in 2040, data showed. The aged population will also exceed 10 million in 2025 and 15 million in 2036.

The number of people aged 65 and older that account for 16.1 percent of total population this year will take up 25.5 percent of total population in 2030 and 34.3 percent in 2040. The super-aged population – those aged 85 and older – will account for 4.6 percent of total population in 2040, up from 1.5 percent this year.

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Korean nationals are estimated to account for 55.6 percent of total working population in 2040, down from 71.5 percent this year. Data showed that 100 working people would have to support 54.5 youth and senior citizens in 2030 and 79.7 in 2040, up from 39.8 this year.

The working population will be supporting 15 to 18 youths between 2020 and 2040 – a steady level over the years – but more senior citizens. Based on the outlook, 100 working population will be supporting 61.6 senior citizens in 2040, up from 22.4 in 2020. At present, 4.5 working people support one senior citizen, but in 2040, 1.6 would have to support one senior citizen.

Amid population decline, the number of foreign population is expected to surge from 1.73 million this year – 3.3 percent of total population – to 2.28 million in 2040 – 4.5 percent.

Cross-border migrant population is also projected to increase from 2.22 million this year – 4.3 percent of total population – to 3.52 million in 2040 – 6.9 percent of total population. Migrant population includes foreigners and second-generation immigrants and naturalized Korean citizens that are categorized as Korean nationals.

Data showed that the number of second-generation immigrants, in particular, will increase sharply from 280,000 in 2020 to 700,000 in 2040, accounting for 1.4 percent of total population, up from 0.5 percent this year.

By Yoon Ji-won and Lee Eun-joo

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]