Foreigners confute population forecast

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Foreigners confute population forecast

Korea’s population topped last year’s forecasts by more than a surprising 500,000 due to an unexpected inflow of foreigners into the country, a government report showed yesterday.

Data by Statistics Korea showed there were an estimated 49.30 million people in the country last year, up by around 1.17 million compared to 2005, when the population stood at 48.13 million.

In 2006, the statistical office estimated that the population would grow by 609,000 from 2005 to 2009, based on birth and death rates and the movement of people across borders.

The single largest factor that contributed to the gain was the net inflow of foreign nationals, which rose by 400,000 from estimates four years ago.

Other factors that caused population numbers to soar from original predictions are higher-than-expected birth rates and a decline in deaths caused by advances in medical science.

During the 2005-2009 period, there were 2.28 million newborns in the country, about 64,000 more than Statistics Korea had expected would be born in the time period.

The total fertility rate, which represents the average number of children born to a woman during her child-bearing years, was a little higher than expected, hitting 1.12 in 2006, 1.25 the following year and 1.15 in 2009.

The death rate also fell in the period, causing population numbers to rise by around 76,000. About 1.30 million people were expected to die during the five year period but actual deaths tallied 1.22 million.

The government statistical office said the latest trends could delay the date of Korea’s population reaching its peak by about a decade.

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