SEJONG, June 28 (Korea Bizwire) — The proportion of one-person households in South Korea is expected to reach nearly 40 percent in 2050 due to a delay in marriages and rapid aging, a government estimate showed Tuesday.
The number of households consisting of one member is forecast to reach 9.05 million in 2050, taking up 39.6 percent of the total households, according to the latest projection by Statistics Korea.
The figure represents a hike from 6.48 million households in 2020, which accounted for 31.2 percent of the total, it showed.
South Korea is grappling with demographic challenges from its chronically low childbirths and rapid aging amid concerns that if the current trend continues, the country will suffer a big drop in its working-age population, people aged 15 to 64.
The country has seen a continued rise in one-person households as more young people are delaying or giving up on marriage due to economic reasons and changes in social norms, resulting in the already low birthrate to drop further.
By age, people in their 20s took up the largest share of 18.8 percent of the total one-person households in 2020, followed by people in their 30s, with 16.8 percent.
But in 2050, one-person households of people aged 70 and older are expected to reach 3.88 million, taking up 42.9 percent of such households.
The number of households that include senior citizens is forecast to more than double in 2050 from 2020 due to population aging.
The number of households having people aged 65 and older is expected to reach 11.38 million in 2050, up from 4.64 million in 2020.
Then the proportion of such households will likely account for 49.8 percent of the total in 2050, up from 22.4 percent recorded for 2020, the government said.
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.
Meanwhile, the number of households in South Korea is expected to start to decline in 2040 amid a fall in the total population.
The number of households will likely peak at 23.87 million in 2039 before declining to an estimated 22.85 million in 2050, according to the statistics office. Households came to 20.73 million in 2020.
The latest projection is slightly bleaker than the statistics agency’s previous estimate in 2019, when the number of households was forecast to begin to decline in 2041.
South Korea’s total population began falling last year, but the number of households will likely start to decline 19 years later as the number of households consisting of one member and unmarried people is on the rise, the agency noted.