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Elders top 14 percent of South Korea’s population

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People cross a zebra crossing in a business district in central Seoul, South Korea, December 15, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

SEOUL (Xinhua) – South Korea became an aged society as the number of elderly people topped 14 percent of the total population, statistical office data showed Monday.

The country’s population totaled 51.42 million as of Nov. 1 last year, up 0.3 percent, or 150,000, from a year earlier, according to the 2017 census by Statistics Korea.

The statistical agency started announcing the annual census result based on resident registration records every year from 2015, while the conventional person-to-person survey is conducted every five years.

Among the total population, those aged 65 or older accounted for 14.2 percent, or 7,115,000, becoming the aged society.

The aged society indicates a country having those aged 65 or older, the portion of which surpasses 14 percent of the total population.

South Korea became the aging society, which has the elderly portion of more than 7 percent, in 2000. If the portion tops 20 percent, a country becomes a super-aged society.

The country’s elderly population widened a gap with those aged 14 or younger, the number of which was 6,632,000, or 13.3 percent of the total population.

The aging population and the low birth rate have been a headache for the South Korean economy as it lowers the economy’s growth potential and increases burden among the younger generation for welfare costs.

The number of those aged 15-64, called the working age population, came in at 36,196,000 as of Nov. 1 last year, down 0.3 percent, or 116,000, from a year earlier.

Those aged 100 or higher increased 12.1 percent to 3,908 in the cited period.

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