South Korea is expected to have a population similar to the current level in 30 years, despite widespread predictions of a tumble due to the country's chronically low birthrate, government data showed Monday.
The country's population is estimated to reach 51.05 million in 2045, slightly higher than last year's number of 51.01, given its total fertility rate, life expectancy and a net inflow of foreigners, according to the data by Statistics Korea.
The statistical agency said South Korea's population will likely start declining gradually after reaching a peak of 52.96 million in 15 years from now.
Despite almost no change in the number, South Korea is forecast to experience changes in its demographics, with women outnumbering men and the country undergoing rapid aging.
The population of women is projected to exceed that of men for the first time in 2039, with the trend likely to continue for six years. Females in South Korea are predicted to reach 25.56 million in 2045, compared with 25.49 million males.
South Korea is also expected to go through rapid population aging. The number of people aged 65 and older will likely come to 18.18 million in 30 years, up 2.9 times from the 6.54 million last year. Its share of the country's total population is predicted to soar to 35.6 percent from 12.8 percent.
South Korea is projected to become an aged society in 2018 with the ratio hitting 14 percent and emerge as a super-aged society with 20 percent in 2025. A country is defined as an aged society when more than 14 percent of its people are 65 or older.
In contrast, the country's labor force aged 15-64 will fall to
27.72 million in 30 years from last year's 37.44 million, with the annual number of newborns slumping to around 310,000 from 430,000, according to the data.
South Korea's stubbornly low birthrate and aging people are widely feared to undermine the growth potential of Asia's fourth-largest economy. (Yonhap)