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South Korea's Population Declines for Second Consecutive Year According to 2022 Census



According to the 2022 Population and Housing Census released by Statistics Korea, South Korea's total population as of July 1, 2022, was 51,692,000. This number reflects a decrease of 46,000 people, or 0.1 percent, from the previous year. The census includes foreigners who have been living in Korea for more than three months and excludes Koreans who have been living abroad for more than three months. The decline in the total population is primarily attributed to the low birthrate and aging of Korean society. Of the 148,000 decrease in Koreans, about 110,000 were due to natural contraction, while the rest resulted from international migration.


In contrast, the foreign-born population in Korea increased by 102,000, or 6.2 percent, compared to 2021. This growth comes after two consecutive years of decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which restricted foreign citizens' entry into the country. As the pandemic subsided and quarantine regulations eased, more foreigners chose to reside in Korea. The total foreign population in 2022 accounted for 3.4 percent of the nation's total population, with a figure of 1.752 million.


While the overall population decreased, the number of households in Korea increased by 360,000, or 1.6 percent, reaching a total of 22.38 million in 2022. This growth can be attributed to households becoming more fragmented. Notably, there was an increase in the number of single-person households, which rose by 337,000, or 4.7 percent, from the previous year. Single-person households accounted for 34.5 percent of all households in 2022. Additionally, there were 399,000 multicultural households in Korea, with various backgrounds and nationalities, including Korean-Chinese, Vietnamese, and Chinese.

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