SEJONG, July 8 (Korea Bizwire) – The proportion of young people to the total population in South Korea dropped to the lowest level ever in 2015, affected by the country’s chronically low birthrate, government data showed Wednesday.
According to the data by Statistics Korea, the number of people under age 14 accounted for 13.9 percent of the total population, down from 14.3 percent the year before and 21.1 percent in 2000.
It marks the lowest percentage ever and reflects the country’s very low birthrate. As of 2014, the country’s total fertility rate, or the average number of children that would be born to a woman over her lifetime, stood at 1.21, down from 1.47 in 2000.
At the current pace, the percentage of people under 14 is expected to drop to 10.2 percent of the total by 2060.
The statistical agency said the drop in young people will negatively impact the nation’s labor force and senior citizens down the line.
As of this year, 73 percent of South Korea’s population is in the economically active range of 15-64, but this will plunge to 49.7 percent in 2060.
In contrast, the percentage of people over 65, who generally do not hold jobs, is forecast to soar to 40.1 percent in 2060 from 3.1 percent this year.
This translates into 101 senior citizens and children being supported by every 100 economically active people in 2060, up from 37 being supported this year. Such a shift will put a considerable burden on people who earn a living as well as the government.
According to the data, South Korea’s population stands at 51 million this year, placing it 27th in the world. In 2030, when the population is expected to peak at 52 million, it will rank 31st and fall to 49th in 2060 when the total number of people in the country will drop to 44 million.