South Korea's per capita gross national income (GNI) is forecast to reach US$40,000 as late as 2023, a local think tank said Monday, as the country is mired in a period of low growth.
According to the prediction by the Korea Economic Research Institute (KERI), the country's per capita GNI is expected to take 17 years to double from when the number first topped the $20,000 level, which was in 2006.
GNI covers the growth domestic product, which is the total measure of all goods and services made in a country, as well as the income of its citizens obtained overseas.
Compared with other member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), whose figures doubled to the $40,000 mark within an average of 13.6 years, the expansion of South Korea's per capita GNI is likely to lag behind, according to KERI.
The latest forecast by the think tank comes as the country's potential growth rate was estimated to plunge to 2.9 percent in 2022 from the current 3.59 percent, and later drop further to 1.91 percent in 2034, according to OECD data.
"Aside from the semiconductors, handsets and television businesses, the country's major growth engines up until now, there have not been any sectors to lead the country's economy, plunging it into a period of low growth," said Kim Chang-bae, a researcher at KERI.
"The country should push to develop new sources of growth that could create more demand for highly-educated laborers among the younger generation, such as in the service sector."
Asia's No. 4 economy saw its GNI per capita climb 7.6 percent on-year to $28,180 last year, according to the Bank of Korea.