SEOUL, Jan. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's population growth rate fell below 0.1 percent for the first time last year, with its median age topping 42, government statistics showed Monday.
The nation's resident population was 51,826,059 as of the end of 2018, marking an increase of 0.09 percent, or 47,515 people, from the previous year, according to the statistics released by the Ministry of the Interior and Safety.
It is the first time since the ministry began to release annual population data in 2008 that the population growth rate has dropped below 0.1 percent.
The population growth rate had risen from 0.47 percent in 2009 to 1.49 percent in 2010 before steadily sliding to 0.16 percent in 2017.
The nation's median age exceeded 42 for the first time, reaching 42.1 last year, the ministry said, indicating the gradual aging of the population.
Compared with the previous year, the population in their 40s and younger declined, while the population in their 50s and older increased. Notably, the population aged zero to 9 was only 49.94 percent of those in their 50s, marking the first time the figure has fallen below 50 percent.
The population younger than 50 contracted by 605,073, while the population older than 50 increased by 652,588.
Among those under the age of 50, only the population in their 20s showed an increase, as it expanded by 13,006 people.
The number of people older than 100 increased by 933 from 17,850 in 2017 to 18,783 last year.
By age group, the population in their 50s accounted for the largest number at 8,615,884, followed by 8,488,587 in their 40s; 7,270,143 in their 30s; 6,823,973 in their 20s; 5,949,639 in their 60s; 5,131,153 aged 10 to 19; 4,303,052 aged 0 to 9; 3,497,936 in their 70s and 1,516,992 in their 80s.
The population aged 0 to 14 accounted for 12.8 percent of the total, whereas the population older than 65 accounted for 14.8 percent.
The number of resident households was 22,042,947, up 1.9 percent from 2017, with the average household size dropping from 2.39 to 2.35.