Behind South Korea's demographic changes
There are two major causes behind South 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, South Koreans’ life expectancies have steadily increased as a result of higher standards of living and healthcare. The life expectancy at birth of the average South 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 more than 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 28.2 percent in 2025.