Korea’s working-age population to fall by 10 million in 2042: Data

2024.04.12 10:57:42

[Photo by MK DB]이미지 확대

[Photo by MK DB]



South Korea is projected to see its working-age population decrease by nearly 10 million in 20 years as the country deals with falling birth rates.

According to data from Statistics Korea on Thursday, the working-age population of Koreans (aged 15-64) is estimated to decline to 25.73 million in 2042 from 35.27 million in 2022 under the median estimate.

The working-age foreign population, in the meantime, is expected to increase to 2.36 million from 1.47 million over the same period.

The proportion of foreigners in the total working-age population is expected to more than double from 4 percent in 2022 to 8.4 percent in 2042.

In the high estimate, the working-age foreign population is projected to increase to 2.94 million by 2042, with the share of foreigners in the working-age population rising to 10.1 percent.

The total population is also expected to decrease to 49.63 million in 2042 from 51.67 million in 2022 under the median estimate.

The foreign population, in the meantime, is expected to increase to 2.85 million from 1.65 million during the same period. The proportion of foreigners is also projected to increase by about 1.8 times to 5.7 percent from 3.2 percent.

In the high estimate, the foreign population is expected to reach 3.61 million, with the proportion of foreigners rising to 6.9 percent.

The number of elderly Koreans is expected to nearly double in 20 years to 17.25 million in 2042 from 8.89 million in 2022 due to an aging population.

The total dependency ratio of Koreans per 100 working-age individuals is forecasted to increase from 41.8 in 2022 to 81.8 in 2042.

“The government should have a concrete plan on how to fill the gap in the working age population with foreign labor,” said Yi In-sill, director of the Korean Peninsula Population Institute for Future.

By Han Sang-heon and Yoon Yeon-hae

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