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Reforming the Pension System in Korea
Region: Asia
Location: Korea, South
Published May 25, 2011
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Korea is in the midst of the most rapid demographic transition of any member country of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); the share of Korea’s population older than age 65 is projected to double from 7 percent to 14 percent between 2000 and 2019. In comparison, this transition lasted 24 years in Japan and is projected to last 71 years in the United States. The speed of population aging reflects Korea’s transformation during the space of one generation from a poor, agrarian society to an industrialized OECD country, resulting in dramatic changes in fertility rates and life expectancy. Indeed, the fertility rate has fallen from 5.4 in the 1950s to 1.2 today—the largest decline in the OECD area—while the 30-year increase in life expectancy is also the largest. Consequently, within 50 years, Korea’s old-age dependency ratio will rise from the third lowest among OECD countries to the third highest

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