SEOUL: South Korea is projected to become the world's most aged country two decades from now as more of its citizens age, official data showed on Monday.

According to Statistics Korea, the proportion of South Koreans who are 65 years old and older is forecast to account for 36.7 percent of the East Asian country's total population in 2044.

South Korea will overtake Japan's estimated 36.5 percent in the said year, according to Seoul's Yonhap News Agency.

The data was based on the 2022 United Nations population prospects report and Statistics Korea's outlook for the population.

The number of South Korea's senior citizens is predicted to soar from 17.5 percent in 2022 to 34.4 percent in 2040 and 46.4 percent in 2070.

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In contrast, the number of Japanese elderly is projected to climb from 29.9 percent in 2022 to 35.2 percent in 2040 and 38.7 percent in 2070.

South Korea's working-age population, or those between 15 and 64, is forecast to decline from 71 percent in 2022 to 56.8 percent in 2040 and 46.1 percent in 2070. It peaked at 73.4 percent in 2012.

The number of its American counterpart is estimated to slide from 64.9 percent in 2022 to 61.5 percent in 2040 and 57.9 percent in 2070.