October 19, 2005

Child Population Declines in Korea

Less than one-fifth of South Korea’s population consists of children aged 14 years and under, much lower than that of rival emerging economies.

The National Statistical Office (NSO) said the ratio of children 14 years old and under accounted for only 19.1 percent of the total population.

``Such an exceptionally low ratio of children, the future workforce, is adding to concerns over the declining birthrate and aging society. It will erode Korea’s economic growth potential in coming years,’’ the NSO said.

Of the 35 Asian countries surveyed, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Georgia were the only countries with a smaller percentage of children than Korea.

The ratio stood at 14 percent in Japan, 14.4 percent in Hong Kong, 18.7 percent in Taiwan and 18.9 percent in Georgia, a small republic located in Northwestern Asia.

The puerility ratios, the ratio of population aged 14 years and under, of Korea’s rival emerging economies were higher than that of Korea. The puerility ratio of China was 21.4 percent, India 32.1 percent and Singapore 19.5 percent.

Afghanistan boasted the highest puerility ratio of 46.5 percent in Asia, trailed by Iraq with 41 percent and Nepal and Tajikistan with 39 percent each.

Among 29 countries in Latin America, Barbados (18.9 percent) was the only country that had a puerility ratio lower than that of Korea. The puerility ratio of Brazil was 27.9 percent and that of Cuba 19.1 percent.

Of the 25 European nations, only Iceland (22 percent), Ireland (20.2 percent) and Norway (19.6 percent) had higher puerility ratios than that of Korea. In Europe, Italy had the lowest puerility ratio with 14 percent.

The puerility demographic made up 20.8 percent of the U.S.’ total population, 31 percent of Mexico’s and 17.6 percent of Canada’s. Australia and New Zealand also had puerility ratios of 19.6 percent and 21.3 percent, respectively.


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