[Photo by MK DB]
The number of newborns in South Korea would peak at 323,000 in 2035 and then continue to shrink to dip below 181,000 in 2060, according to a research paper based on data from Statistics Korea.
The nation’s total population was predicted to stay at 51,199,019 in 2030 and fall to 50,868,691 in 2035 and further to 42,617,053 in 2060, 40 years from now.
The research results were published in the November 2022 issue of the Journal of Korean Medical Science.
South Korea is grappling with demographic challenges from its chronically low childbirths amid rapid aging. The number of births in 2020 totaled 272,400, falling below the 300,000 mark for the first time, and the figure fell further to 260,562 in 2021, down 4.5 percent from the previous year. The crude and total fertility rates remain on a downward curve with 5.3 and 0.84, respectively, in 2021.
As South Korea is transitioning into natural population decline, it is in a serious situation that will cause various socio-economic problems from demographic changes in the future, said Chung Sung-hoon Chung, MD, PhD. Department of Pediatrics, Kyung Hee University Hospital, one of the researchers who co-authored the paper.
To overcome this, the government needs to come up with multilateral measures. For example, the government should find ways to help reduce average maternal age and late age childbirth, while establishing a solid perinatal medical system, including the expansion of neonatal intensive care unit facilities, to manage premature and low-birth-weight babies, he advised.
By Lee Byung-moon and Minu Kim
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