Changes in the Welfare Policy Environment 2016 and Their Implications

Changes in the Welfare Policy Environment 2016 and Their Implications

Kim, Megon

Research in Brief, no. 13, pp. 1 - 5
Journal Title
Research in Brief
Low fertility is a phenomenon commonly observed across many advanced countries, but Korea's case deserves special attention in that its total fertility rate (TFR) has remained at sub-
1.3 levels for fifteen years straight since 2001. In comparison, Germany's sub-1.3 fertility rate lasted for only 4 years (1992~1995) and Japan's for 3 years (2003~2005). In light of the protracted trend of late marriage and the continued increase in the age at first childbirth, it seems unlikely that Korea's TFR will pick up to any considerable extent in the near future. Life expectancy at birth for Koreans has increased from 62.1 years in 1970 to 82.4 years in 2014, and is projected to continue to rise, although at a slower pace. The elderly aged 65 and over as a share of the total population first exceeded the 7-percent mark in 2000. Statistics Korea forecasts that elderly Koreans will take up over 14 percent of the population in 2017 and more than 20 percent in 2025. Projections have it that by 2050, the share of 65-year-olds and older will take up 38.2 percent of the population, second only to Japan's 39.6 percent, compared to the OECD average of 25.8 percent. The working-age population as a share of all Koreans, having reached its pinnacle at 73.1 percent 2012 (the number of working age Koreans will reach its highest at 37.04 million this year) is now on the decline, and, as a result, the old-age dependency ratio will soar in the years ahead.
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