Fertility declines in countries experiencing the demographic transition process. This reduces the proportion of the young population. On the other side, the share of the elderly population is also not high, since the transition process has not yet been completed. The working age population is increasing with the proportional decrease of the child and elderly population. This special period, which can be an opportunity because it facilitates economic development, is called the demographic window of opportunity in the literature. This period can also be characterized as a “demographic gift” or “demographic bonus” in some studies. The demographic window of opportunity period ends with population aging. As a matter of fact, if 15% of the population is 65 and over, the society is considered to have aged. According to many researchers, South Korea and Japan are rare countries that have succeeded in using the demographic window of opportunity positively. In this study, both countries were compared before and after the demographic window of opportunity period. In the research, it was tried to determine when the demographic window of opportunity period, which was used efficiently in South Korea and Japan, was opened and closed. In this context, the population of both countries was examined according to age groups and total dependency ratios. However, it can be said that the main purpose of the research is to reveal the reflections of the demographic window of opportunity, comparatively, rather than other factors in economic growth. The economic data belonging to Japan are taken from Donnet's research published in 1992 for the period 1950-1965. The data for the period 1956-1975 were compiled from the works of Ogawa, Konda and Matsukura. Statistics for the period 1965-2015 are taken from the World Bank. The demographic data used to determine the opening/closing dates of the demographic window of opportunity in Japan were obtained from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA). A similar method was used for data belonging to South Korea. All demographic data of the South Korea were accessed from UN-DESA, economic indicators were accessed from the World Bank, and Labor Force data were accessed from the International Labor Organization (ILO). According to these data, the demographic window of opportunity in South Korea opened in the late 1980s and early 1990s and closed in 2020. In Japan, the window opened in the late 1950s and early 1960s was closed in 2000. The quantitative data obtained were discussed in line with the literature and it was proved that the economic growth in both countries was related to the demographic window of opportunity.


Demographic window of opportunity, South Korea, Japan