SEOUL, Dec. 1 (Korea Bizwire) — The average life expectancy of South Korean babies born last year fell by about a year to reach 82.7 years, data showed Friday.
The average life expectancy at birth in 2022 was 0.9 year shorter than the previous year, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.
Compared with a decade ago, the figure was 1.9 years longer.
The life expectancy came to 62.3 years in 1970, when the agency began compiling related data. In 2009, the life expectancy hit 80 years for the first time.
Baby boys and girls born in 2022 are expected to live 79.9 years and 85.6 years, respectively.
The gender gap in life expectancy fell 0.2 year to come to 5.8 years, and the gap has fallen after reaching a peak of 8.6 years in 1985.
South Korea’s life expectancies for men and women were 1.9 years and 2.4 years longer, respectively, than the average of the 38 member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Of the OECD members, Switzerland topped the list in terms of the life expectancy among men with 81.6 years, and Japan saw the longest life expectancy for women of 87.6 years, the data showed.
As of 2022, a 40-year-old Korean man was expected to live for 40.9 more years, down 0.7 year from the previous year, and the figure for a 40-year-old Korean woman came to 46.4 years, down one year from a year earlier.
For people aged 60 last year, men were forecast to have 22.8 remaining years and women 27.4 more years.
A baby boy born in 2022 had a 61.1 percent possibility of reaching 80, and the chance of a baby girl living to 80 years reached 80.2 percent.
The three major causes of death for South Koreans were cancer, heart disease and pneumonia, and the chances of babies born in 2022 dying from those causes came to around 36 percent.
The chance of death from COVID-19 in the future stood at 8.8 percent for male babies and 10 percent for female babies.
If the risk of dying from cancer is excluded, the life expectancies of male and female babies rise 3.9 years and 2.4 years, respectively, the data showed.
South Korea is struggling with demographic challenges caused by rapid aging and a chronically low birthrate.
The total fertility rate, which shows the average number of expected babies a woman bears in her lifetime, fell to a record quarterly low of 0.7 in the third quarter of 2023.
Many young people opt to postpone or give up on getting married or having babies in line with changing social norms and lifestyles, as well as in the face of high home prices, a tough job market and an economic slowdown.
The country 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.