South Korea’s unique demography and social risks

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Before the 1990s, limited attention had been paid to the socio-demographics of Korea as these were usually overshadowed by the rapid economic growth and political developments in the country. Indeed, by making economic growth the top priority of the political agenda, together with favourable international trade conditions, authoritarian governments prior to the 1990s achieved extraordinary economic growth. From 1960 to 1990, GDP per capita increased from around $1, 200 to around $8, 000 (World Bank 2007). There were also important, but less acknowledged, demographic achievements during this period, which have significant ramifications for the current and future economy and demography in Korea, namely the marked decline in the infant mortality rate and a rise in life expectancy. These changes were said to be due largely to the trickle-down effect of economic growth and improved health conditions, since the social and health policies prior to this development were quite inadequate. However, the birth rate sharply declined in this period not only because of an improvement in socio-economic conditions but also because of a vigorous national family planning programme initiated in 1962 (Kim 2000).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRetirement, Work and Pensions in Ageing Korea
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781135272746
ISBN (Print)9780415551724
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jan 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2010 Jae-jin Yang and Thomas R. Klassen.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'South Korea’s unique demography and social risks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this