Age calculation change: South Korea is getting younger

Status: 09.12.2022 12:09 p.m

In South Korea, starting next summer, many citizens will soon be one or even two years younger. The country is changing its complicated age calculation system – and giving itself a rejuvenation.

South Korea wants to change its age calculation. The Seoul Parliament has passed legislation to abolish the traditional method. As a result, many South Koreans will soon be one or even two years younger. Because according to the so-called Korean age, a baby is already one year old at birth, on every January 1st – and not on the birthday – a year is added.

But there are two other calculation methods in South Korea: For example, to determine the legal drinking age, babies are counted as zero years old at birth, and on every January 1st they become one year older.

In South Korea, age calculation is set to change soon. On paper, many South Koreans are likely to become younger as a result.

Image: AFP

The “confusion” should end in summer 2023

Since the 1960s, some authorities have also been using the international standard, which is based on the date of birth. This means that a person born on December 31, 1992 in South Korea would be 29 on December 9, 2022 according to the international standard, 30 according to the alcohol consumption system, and 31 according to the Korean age.

This “confusion” should now be over by June 2023 at the latest – this was announced by Parliament. Then only the international system should apply. President Yoon Suk-yeol advocated the change, pointing out the high administrative costs, among other things. Some South Koreans are excited. “I’m turning two years younger – I’m so happy,” wrote one Twitter user. “I was two years old shortly after I was born because I was born in December. I’m finally getting my real age back!”

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