The number of people insured by South Korea’s National Pension Service (NPS) is expected to decrease by about 770,000 over a four-year period until 2024 due to the low birth rate, local media said.

Local media quoted a report titled “NPS Mid-term Financial Outlook (2020-2024)” released by the National Pension Research Institute under the NPS on June 2.

The number of NPS’ insured persons fell 0.44 percent from 22.32 million in 2018 to 22.22 million last year. There were also declines in insured persons in 1998, 2000 and 2004 but each of those times was temporary. 

However, following last year’s decline, the number will continue to fall by 0.75 percent to 22.05 million this year and 21.93 million (-0.53 percent) in 2021; 21.81 million (-0.53 percent) in 2022; 21.67 million (-0.64 percent) in 2023 and 21.55 million (-0.56 percent) in 2024, the report predicted.

“The decrease of insured person number is not only due to a decrease in the number of economically active population but also to the impact of economic fluctuations,” the institute said. “If no special institutional or environmental changes occur in the future the decrease in the number of insured person due to the decrease in economically active population is expected.”

The rate of increase in pension premiums is also expected to fall due to a drop in insured persons. The growth rate of pension premium income will fall from 4.83 percent this year to 2.42 percent in 2021; followed by 2.24 percent in 2022; 2.36 percent in 2023 and 2.61 percent in 2024, the institute predicted. (Reporting by Kyoungho Lee)