Elderly make up 13.1% of S. Korean population

September 24, 2015
(Korea Times)

(Korea Times)

By Choi Kyong-ae

One in eight South Koreans is aged 65 or older, indicating the nation is rapidly becoming an aged society, Statistics Korea said Thursday.

The elderly made up a record 13.1 percent of the population of 50.61 million last year, up from 12.7 percent the previous year. The ratio was 2.9 percent in 1960 when the statistical office began to compile the data.

A country is categorized as an aged society if the percentage rises to more than 14 percent.

“The transition toward an aged society from an aging society is taking place fast. The percentage of the elderly is expected to reach 15.7 percent in 2020 and top 40 percent in 2060,” an official from the agency said.

The high ratio of the elderly, coupled with a record-low birthrate, means the nation will have fewer working people and higher costs to support the senior citizens.

It said 5.6 working-age people are supporting the livelihood of an elderly dependent this year, down from 5.8 to one last year.

About 31 percent of the elderly had jobs in 2014, up from 30.9 percent reported in 2013. When picking jobs, senior citizens placed priority on working hours, followed by wage level and job security.