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
The failure of South Korea, one of the world’s fastest-aging societies, to tackle a shrinking labor pool threatens to undermine growth and lessen the nation’s odds of producing the next Samsung Electronics Co. or Hyundai Motor Co. Only half of women aged 15 years or older were working last year and the participation of females … Continue reading »
The ageing society debate is at the forefront of calls to reduce government deficits. The debate is driven by the proposition that national governments will not be able to afford to maintain the spending necessary to support the growing demands for medical care and pension support as populations age. At some points, the argument goes, … Continue reading »
Complaints about the graying of the population sometimes imply an inevitable loss of economic dynamism. But I know of no historical evidence that either the productivity or the creativity of a society is determined by the age structure of its population. The interaction between demographic and economic change is so much more complex than the … Continue reading »
We can now discern more or less when the catch-up growth miracle will sputter out. Another seven years or so – enough to bouy global coal, crude, and copper prices for a while – but then it will all be over. China’s demographic dividend will be exhausted. Beijing revealed last week that the country’s working … Continue reading »