S. Korea's working-age population to dip nearly 10 mln by 2044 amid low births

S. Korea's working-age population to dip nearly 10 mln by 2044 amid low births
Photo credit: Yonhap

 South Korea's economically active population is anticipated to plunge nearly 10 million by 2044 amid the country's critically low births, data showed Monday, Yonhap reports.

The number of people aged 15 to 64, which stood at 36.57 million in 2023, is projected to decrease to 27.17 million in 2044, according to a report from the Korean Peninsula Population Institute for the Future.

The report also showed the number of elementary school freshmen, which came to 430,000 last year, is set to nearly halve to 220,000 in 2033.

The number of deaths was expected to reach 746,000 in 2060, compared with births estimated at just 156,000, leading to a natural population decline of 590,000.

Accordingly, South Korea's total population, estimated at 51.71 million in 2023, was forecast to drop to 39.69 million by 2065.

"The decline in the economically active population will damage consumption, leading to the collapse of the domestic market. It will also increase the burden of supporting the senior population, leading to an economic slowdown and prolonged low growth," the institute said.

South Korea has been grappling with a chronically low birth rate, with the total fertility rate, the average number of children expected to be born per woman over her lifetime, reaching a record low of 0.72 in 2023.

This figure is far below the 2.1 births per woman needed to maintain a stable population without immigration.

In February 2024, only 19,362 babies were born, marking the lowest number for any February since the statistics agency began collecting data in 1981.

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