This composite photo shows the contrast in the number of students gathered at the playground of a school in Boeun, North Cheongcheong Province in 1966 (left) and June this year.
Korea's young population between the ages of nine and 24 has almost halved since 1980, auguring serious trouble ahead.
The young population has fallen from 14.4 million in 1980 to just 8.5 million this year. It is expected to dwindle even further to 6.4 million in 2040 and 4.8 million in 2060, according to Statistics Korea. That means the proportion of people under 24 in the total population has dropped from a buoyant 39.1 percent in 1970 to less than one-sixth or 16.4 percent.