• S. Korea's Fertility Rate Remains Lowest In World: UN Report
(Photo: Yonhap News)

South Korea continues to have the lowest birth rate in the world amid fast growth of its elderly population.

A U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) report showed Tuesday that the country's total fertility rate, or the average number of children per woman, amounted to 1.1 in 2021, unchanged from a year earlier.

South Korea's rate is the lowest among all 198 countries surveyed and is far lower than the global average of 2.4.

The UNFPA said, "While the country continues to see a low fertility rate and fast aging of the population, the proportion of its population aged between 0-14 years came to 12.3 percent, which is the same with that of Japan and about half of the global average of 25.3 percent."

The proportion of people over 65 came to 16.6 percent of South Korea's overall population, sharply up from 15.8 percent a year earlier.

Globally, people aged 65 and older only accounted for 9.5 percent of the total population of some 7.8 billion.

Japan had the world's largest proportion of elderly at 28.7 percent, followed by Italy and Portugal at 23.6 percent and 23.1 percent, respectively.

At birth, South Koreans had a life expectancy of 83 years, the world's 11th highest.

While South Korean males had a life expectancy of 80 years, South Korean females could expect to live 86 years.

Their North Korean counterparts, on the other hand, had life expectancies at birth of 69 years for males and 76 for females, according to the annual report.

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