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Korea / Ageing faster than any other country in the OECD

South Korea is ageing faster than any other country in the OECD. Last year almost 12% of the population were aged 65 or over. By 2030 that proportion will double. The number of South Koreans of working age will peak in just three years’ time, according to the OECD’s Randall Jones and Satoshi Urasawa. By 2040 their number will drop by about a fifth.

Mr Jeon thinks today’s South Koreans are less respectful of their elders than earlier generations were. But the filial piety anchored in Confucian tradition is far from dead: on the Seoul metro the young will not sit in seats reserved for the elderly, even on a crowded train. In South Korean cities senior citizens clearly feel welcome in public spaces. They can be seen swinging their legs from side to side on the exercise machines installed along popular jogging routes.

Popular culture, too, features older people. A pair of elderly couples star in the 2011 film “Late Blossom”. Another film, “Too Young to Die”, made in 2002, included a seven-minute sex scene between two people in their 70s. The elderly are also winning the attention of South Korea’s retailers. The fashionable Lotte Department Store says that a growing number of their biggest customers now are over 60. It calls them “6070 BigHands” and sells them cosmetics and golfwear for themselves and luxury clothes for their grandchildren.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at 


via Demography: The 54th parallel | The Economist.

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