Korea’s population set to dip to 36.2 mil. by 2072 amid low births

Bomi Yoon

A senior citizen reads a flyer at a job fair held in western Seoul, Dec. 13. Yonhap

A senior citizen reads a flyer at a job fair held in western Seoul, Dec. 13. Yonhap

Korea’s current population of around 51.6 million is expected to decline significantly to 36.2 million by 2072 amid the critically low birth rates, a statistics report showed Thursday.

The portion of seniors aged 65 and above in the population, which came to 17.4 percent in 2022, is expected to soar to 47.7 percent in 2072, according to the biennial report released by state-run Statistics Korea.

In regard to population growth, the agency predicted an annual fall of 0.16 percent for a decade starting in 2025, eventually accelerating to a 1.31 percent decline by 2072.

The gloomy outlook came as the country’s fertility rate — the number of children that are expected to be born to a woman over her lifetime — hit a record low of 0.78 in 2022, hovering far below other major countries.

It was much lower than the replacement level of 2.1 that would keep Korea’s population stable at the 50 million level.

The agency projects a decline in the number of newborns, which amounted to 250,000 in 2022, to decrease to 220,000 in 2025 and further drop to 160,000 by 2072.

Accordingly, the number of seniors per 100 Koreans aged from 15 to 64 was expected to increase to 104 in 2072, marking a substantial rise from the 24 recorded last year.

The number of people in the working age group was expected to fall by 3.32 million over a decade starting in 2022, while that of seniors was expected to rise by 4.85 million, the report added. (Yonhap)

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