The Korea Herald


Foreigners in Korea aging alongside locals: data

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : April 12, 2024 - 11:12

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(Yonhap) (Yonhap)

Foreigners are aging alongside locals in South Korea, a country with more senior citizens than young adults.

According to Statistics Korea on Friday, the senior foreign resident population is expected to constitute more than 10 percent of the overall foreign demographic in 11 years.

The number of seniors, aged 65 and older, among foreign residents is projected to rise from 95,000 in 2022 to 204,000 by 2030. This figure is expected to further increase to 301,000 in 2038 and 344,000 in 2042, more than tripling over two decades.

The proportion of seniors among the entire foreign population is also increasing.

In 2022, those aged 65 and older accounted for 5.8 percent of foreign residents. This figure is expected to rise gradually to 6.3 percent this year, reaching 7.2 percent by 2027, 8.4 percent by 2029, 9.1 percent by 2031, and 10.3 percent by 2035. From 2035 onwards, it is estimated that one in ten foreigners will be above the age of 65. The proportion is projected to continue rising to 11 percent by 2037 and 12.1 percent by 2042, more than doubling the 2022 figure.

An official from Statistics Korea stated, "Foreigners come to Korea not only for study and non-professional work but also through marriage and immigration. They then settle here and age alongside Koreans."

However, the aging rate among foreigners is significantly slower than that of Koreans. For Koreans, the proportion of those aged 65 and older is expected to surge from 17.8 percent in 2022 to 36.9 percent by 2042.

Government data showed in January that the nation's senior population aged 70 and older surpassed those in their 20s for the first time last year.