Excess Mortality During the COVID-19 Pandemic in South Korea


  • Bongoh Kye Kookmin University




Excess mortality, South Korea, COVID-19


This study examines excess mortality in South Korea during the COVID-19 pandemic. I analyze age-specific mortality rates and present an international comparison. First, Korean excess mortality remained low until the end of 2021 but significantly increased in early 2022. Second, this excess mortality was concentrated among older people. For example, cumulative excess mortality among the population aged 85+ years until the 30th week of 2022 was approximately 1-2 percent, that is, an additional 1-2 percent of this age group died compared with what we would have expected in the absence of COVID-19. Third, the international comparison demonstrates that excess mortality in South Korea was relatively low. The country experienced one of the lowest excess mortality rates among countries under study until the end of 2021, but excess mortality rapidly increased in early 2022. However, it returned to being comparatively low by mid-2022. This comparison shows cross-national variation in excess mortality, which may be associated with policy responses and public health infrastructure. Finally, I discuss implications and opportunities for future research.




How to Cite

Kye, B. 2023. Excess Mortality During the COVID-19 Pandemic in South Korea. Comparative Population Studies. 48, (Nov. 2023). DOI:https://doi.org/10.12765/CPoS-2023-26.



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