Korea to see senior boom by 2030

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Korea to see senior boom by 2030

South Korea is expected to have the fourth highest proportion of senior citizens among G20 countries by 2030, a report by an international economic organization showed yesterday.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report predicted that 24.3 percent of South Koreans will be older than 65 in 20 years, mainly due to the country’s low birthrate and aging baby boomers, those born after the Korean War from 1955-1963.

Japan will have the oldest population among the world’s top 20 economies, followed by Germany and Italy. In 2030, 31.8 percent of Japanese will be older than 65, with numbers for Germany and Italy reaching 27.3 percent and 24.3 percent, respectively.

France, Canada, Australia and Britain will become “super aged countries” with the percentage of senior citizens exceeding 20 percent of the total population.

Recent statistics by the World Health Organization showed that South Korea’s birthrate - the average number of children born to each woman in her lifetime - was 1.2 babies, the lowest among 193 countries and below the OECD average of 1.73.

The OECD report also showed the rapid growth of South Korea’s aging population.

In 1970, the proportion of senior citizens stood at just 3.1 percent of the total population. This is expected to balloon to 24.3 percent in 2030. The 21.2 percentage point increase is likely to be the second-highest gain among the G20 countries after the 24.7 percentage point gain predicted for Japan.

Seoul said that because the country’s social welfare net is not as extensive as those in European countries and Japan, South Korea may be negatively impacted by a rapidly aging population and must take measures to ease the burden.

The government has been encouraging more people to have babies and plans to introduce measures to allow senior citizens to work longer.

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