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(LEAD) S. Korea's average age to be highest in the world in 2045: report

All Headlines 10:53 June 19, 2012

(ATTN: RECASTS with headline, lead; UPDATES with more details in paras 2-5)

SEOUL, June 19 (Yonhap) -- The average age of South Korea's population is expected to be the oldest in the world in 2045 mainly due to the country's rapidly aging population, a report showed Tuesday.

The report by the Korea Center for International Finance (KCIF), based on findings by the Royal Bank of Scotland, showed the average age of the country's population will hit 50 in the cited year.

It said South Korea's population aging is progressing rapidly, with the total size of the country's labor force to contract from 2016 onwards.

The findings said the country's average age has recently exceeded the United States and will likely surpass Europe in 2020.

The KCIF report also showed the total number of workers in the country is expected to fall by 1.2 percent every year until 2025, with the figures rising to 2 percent up until 2050.

In addition, the old age dependency ratio is predicted to steadily rise in the coming years until people over 65, who are no longer economically active, will outnumber workers in 2039. It said in 2050, every worker in the country will have to support 1.65 people who no longer earn a living.

The ratio shows the amount of non-working senior citizens compared to the number of those in working age. A higher number of dependents translates into an increased burden on the working members of the population.

The report said that such developments will adversely affect the country's growth potential that stood at 4.2 percent in 2011. It said numbers will likely fall to 3.1 percent by 2023 and dip to 2.5 percent in 2050.

The report, meanwhile, showed the country's current account surplus should remained relatively unchanged until around 2018 before it starts to fall off. The balance could fall into negative territory in 2034, with the deficit rising to 4 percent of the gross domestic product in 2050.


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