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Population projections South Korea 1960-2065, by age group

The total population of South Korea as of early 2020 was projected to be around 52 million. Additionally, almost three quarters of the population were aged 15 to 64 years old. However, the demographics are expected to change significantly in the coming years. Thirty years from now, the number of children and people aged 15 to 64 is estimated to drop by a third, while the number of older people is believed to double. Meanwhile, the total population is expected to drop by more than four million people by this time.

Behind Korea's demographic changes

There are two major causes behind Korea’s projected demographic changes. Firstly, the birth rate has been falling for years. This is despite successive governments’ attempts to turn this around and encourage young people to have children. The primary reason why Koreans are not having children is due to economic concerns, as expressed by more than half of all respondents in a survey. At one point, it was said that raising a child would cost an average of two hundred million South Korean won (approximately 165 thousand U.S. dollars) for the parents. In addition, some potential parents nowadays are interested in higher standards of living, such as acquiring better cars, houses or appliances, travelling to foreign lands, and sightseeing. Interestingly, the birth rate has been dropping steadily over the past years.

Secondly, Koreans’ life expectancies have steadily increased as a result of higher standards of living and healthcare. The life expectancy at birth of the average Korean has increased from less than 75 years to almost 83 years in the past twenty years, while the share of people over 65 years old in Korea increased from less than 11 percent to almost 16 percent in the last ten years. The share of elderly households among the total population has doubled from just under 12 percent in 2000 to a projected 22.8 percent in 2020.

Population of South Korea from 1960 with projections to 2065, by age group

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Release date

March 2019


South Korea

Survey time period

1960 to 2017

Supplementary notes


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Statistics on "Demographics of South Korea"

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