The South Korean government said yesterday that it plans to launch a population policy task force next month in an effort to tackle the country’s chronic low birthrate and rapid aging, according to a Yonhap News Agency report.
The Ministry of Economy and Finance said that a pan-governmental task force will start next month to deal with major demographic risks, including a fall in the population and preparation for a super-aged society.
Last year, the number of deaths surpassed that of newborns for the first time in the country. That means the country’s population will naturally decline.
The country’s total fertility rate hit a new record low of 0.92 in 2019, marking the second straight year for the rate to drop below 1.
A fall in the fertility rate is feared to accelerate the country’s so-called demographic cliff: a major drop in the working population amid the low birthrate.
The country is also expected to become a super-aged society in 2025, in which the proportion of those aged 65 or older will hit 20% of the total population. South Korea became an aged society in 2017.
In order to ease the economic and social fallouts from the demographic cliff, the government plans to explore ways to help more women remain in the workforce. It will also make efforts to help baby boomers, born between 1955-1963, establish businesses and develop after-retirement careers.
On the issue of extending the retirement age currently set at 60, First Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-beom said the matter needs a social consensus.
“The government will explore ways to help the elderly be reemployed after retirement,” Mr Kim said at a press briefing.
The task force will also consider developing a new type of visa to attract foreigners and enhance the state pension fund and health care insurance schemes.