By Kim Se-jeong
In 2036, less than two working people in Korea will be supporting one elderly person, according to a recent OECD report.
According to the OECD's study on old-age support ratio published recently, 1.96 economically active Koreans will have to take care of one inactive elderly person by 2036, the first time the rate will fall below two.
Currently 5.26 workers support on elderly person.
In 1950, the number was 15.79 but this fell to 9.83 in 1997.
Mexico and Turkey have a better picture than Korea, with ratios of 8.49 and 5.79, respectively.
Japan carries the biggest burden at 2.19 followed by Germany at 2.85, Sweden at 2.93 and Finland, 2.94.
In 2036, Japan will still bear the biggest burden with 1.56 people, followed by Germany with 1.64, Italy with 1.74 and the Netherlands with 1.93 people.
The study is a reminder of Korea's fast-aging society.
Ripple effects are already being felt, as the national pension fund is being depleted, and medical insurance expenditure is rising. A low birth rate ― less than two ― is also contributing to the growing challenge. Asked about their future families most working women answered one child was enough.
Korea's insufficient social support for the elderly was also noted. Surveys have shown many elderly people have to work into their late 70s to survive, and family ties suffer as the elderly care burden increases.