South Korea will ‘rejuvenate’ population with new age calculation

The decision was made to ‘resolve the social confusion caused by the mixed use of age calculations’ (photo: Anthony WALLACE / AFP )

Fulfilling a wish of many in the world, South Koreans will subtract a year or even two in 2023 thanks to a law that leaves behind their traditional system of calculating age.

The current system, widely known as “Korean age”, assigns people one year of age at birth and then adds years every January 1 instead of the birthday.

But on Thursday, the country’s National Assembly passed a series of laws requiring the use of the international age-count system on official documents. These changes will be implemented in June.

The decision was taken to “resolve the social confusion caused by the mixed use of age calculations”, the National Assembly said in a statement.

In addition to the traditional system, the country also employs another method for determining the legal smoking or drinking age, which assigns zero years of age to newborns and then adds one every January 1st.

Since the 1960s, some medical and legal records have also used the international standard.

This means that, for example, on December 9, 2022, a person born on December 31, 1992 is 29 years old in the international system, 30 years old in the Korean method of drinking, and 31 years old in the “Korean age”.

President Yoon Suk-yeol promoted this change because of the administrative and social problems caused by this disparity in counting methods.

For some South Koreans, the change is an obvious cause for joy: “I’m getting two years younger, I’m so happy,” commented one Twitter user.

“I turned two right after I was born because I was born in December. I’m finally about to get back to my real age,” he added.


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