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S. Korea expected to become world's most aged country in 2044

All News 12:00 September 05, 2022

SEOUL, Sept. 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is expected to become the country with the largest share of people aged 65 years or older in the world in 2044 due to rapid aging, data showed Monday.

The proportion of senior citizens in South Korea is forecast to account for 36.7 percent of the total population in 2044, outstripping the world's most aged country of Japan with 36.5 percent, according to data from Statistics Korea.

The timing of the country having the largest proportion of senior citizens in the world will be moved up one year, compared with 2019, when the agency put its estimate at 2045.

The data was compiled based on the United Nations' outlook for the global population and the South Korean statistics agency's 2020-70 forecast for Korea's population.

The data showed South Korea will undergo aging at a faster pace, while its total population began declining last year amid chronically low birthrates.

This image, provided by Yonhap News TV, depicts South Korea's demographic challenges from low birthrates and rapid aging. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

This image, provided by Yonhap News TV, depicts South Korea's demographic challenges from low birthrates and rapid aging. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The share of people aged 65 or older will likely reach 17.5 percent of the total population this year and rise to 46.4 percent in 2070.

South Korea is widely expected to become a super-aged society in 2025, in which the proportion of those aged 65 and older will hit 20 percent of the total population. The country became an aged society in 2017, as the proportion of such people exceeded 14 percent.

The proportion of the working-age population, or people aged 15 to 64, peaked at 73.4 percent in 2012 and will further decline to 71 percent in 2022. The tally is likely to dip to 46.1 percent in 2070, the data showed.

Experts warned South Korea may face an "age quake," an earthquake-like demographic shock from a fall in population and rapid aging, starting in 2030-40 if it does not promptly tackle the issue.

Meanwhile, the combined population of South and North Korea is expected to peak at 77.8 million in 2028, the data showed.

South Korea's total population fell for the first time in 2021, while North Korea's population is expected to peak in 2033.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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