Women to outnumber men in South Korea next year

November 22, 2014
The future population estimate by Statistics Korea predicted the number of women in the country will reach 25.31 million in the new year, compared to 25.30 million men. (NEWSis)

The future population estimate by Statistics Korea predicted the number of women in the country will reach 25.31 million in the new year, compared to 25.30 million men. (NEWSis)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — Women will outnumber men in South Korea next year, while the country’s working age population will reach its peak in 2016 before falling, a government forecast showed Sunday.

The future population estimate by Statistics Korea predicted the number of women in the country will reach 25.31 million in the new year, compared to 25.30 million men. The numbers represent the first time since related data collection began in 1960 that women will outnumber men.

The statistical agency said South Korea’s male population will peak in 2029 at 25.91 million before falling. The number of women in the country will continue to grow to reach 26.26 million in 2031 before contracting the following year.

“The number of boys born to every 100 girls last year stood at 105.3, but since women live longer, their numbers will be larger overall,” the agency said.

In addition, the number of people over 65 will increase rapidly, reaching 7.12 million in 2017 vis-a-vis 6.39 million this year, it said. This will mark the first time that senior citizens outpace the number of children under 14, which is expected to reach 6.84 million in the same year.

Statistics Korea said that by 2025, the number of people over 65 will surpass 10 million.

South Korea became an “aging society,” with 7 percent of its population over the age of 65, in 2000. It is headed toward being classified a “super-aged society” in 2026, when slightly more than 20 percent of its people will be over 65.

The working age population was forecast to peak at 37.04 million in 2016 before it starts to fall in the following year. Data showed that among people who are able to work, the number of those aged 25-49, who make up the core of the labor force, has already started to decline. In 2010, there were 20.43 million people in the age group, but this was down to 19.78 last year and 19.58 in 2014. By 2019, the total will likely drop to 18.84 million, according to the forecast.

The agency predicted that the number of people working will rise to 28.65 million in 2026 from 25.55 million this year, before declining to 23.33 million in 2060.

The latest data showed that South Korea’s population will grow to 52.16 million as of 2030 and start to shrink the ensuing year.

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