nternational Age, Leap Age, Korean Age


# **International Age, Leap Age, Korean Age** ### **1. International Age** **International Age** is a method of calculating a person’s age. An age of a newborn baby is counted as ‘1 day’ and adds 1 year on every birthday. Legally, it is used internationally. **In South Korea, the Civil Code bases the standard age on international age.** Babies under one year are usually marked by the number of months passed. ### **2. Leap Age** **”Leap Age” = “Current Year” – “Birth Year”** Generally, it adds +1 year based on January 1st, which means that the calculated age is more accurate than the actual birth date. However, it is not an accurate legal measure; practically it is not an “age” calculation, but rather the “birth year” calculation. In Korean law, it is limitedly used, such as in the **[Youth Protection Act](https://namu.wiki/w/%EC%B2%AD%EC%86%8C%EB%85%84%EB%B3%B4%ED%98%B8%EB%B2%95), [Civil Defense Basic Act](https://namu.wiki/w/%EB%AF%BC%EB%B0%A9%EC%9C%84%EA%B8%B0%EB%B3%B8%EB%B2%95), [Military Service Act](https://namu.wiki/w/%EB%B3%91%EC%97%ADEB%B2%95)** and is not commonly used. The age increases by 1 year on January 1st of the following year, regardless of the birthday, which is a common point with the Korean Age. However, the difference is that the starting age is 1 for the Korean age and 0 for the leap age. ### **3. Korean Age** **Korean Age** is an unofficial age calculation method that starts counting age from the birth year with the base year as 1 year old, and adds one year on every New Year’s Day. In South Korea, although the international age is recognized as the official age by the Civil Code, the Korean age is generally used when people refer to their age in casual conversations. Originally, it was the age calculation method commonly used in East Asian countries such as South Korea (South), North Korea, China, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. However, each country gradually switched to the Western-style international age, and all countries except South Korea have ceased to use the Korean age in law and in civilian life. South Korea is the only country in the 21st century that still commonly uses the Korean age in civil matters. It is the age people often refer to when they say they become one year older by eating rice cake soup on New Year’s Day. ### **How old will a person born in 2010 be in 2023?** | Category | Age | Description | | — | — | — | | International Age | 12 years old | 12 years old if the birthday hasn’t passed, 13 years old if the birthday has passed | | Leap Age | 13 years old | 13 years old after January 1st, 2023 | | Korean Age | 14 years old | 1 year old in 2010, 14 years old in 2023 | # **Confusion due to the introduction of international age** ### **1. What about lunar birthdays?** Older people used to prioritize lunar birthdays over solar ones, so many people’s registered birthdays are still marked as lunar birthdays. It may be confusing about which age to display after the international age is introduced. However, as time goes by after the introduction of the international age, the lunar calendar may gradually be forgotten. ### **2. People born in the same year have different ages** When transitioning from Korean age to international age, people born in the same year may have a difference of 1 year in age before and after their birthday, causing confusion when discussing age. For example, if there are people born in January 2022 and December 2022, they would have different ages as of January 2023 (1 year old after their birthday for January born, 0 for December born) even though they were born in the same year, leading to confusion. ### **3. Age for purchasing alcohol and cigarettes** Anyone under 19 years old of international age cannot purchase alcohol or cigarettes. Before, it was allowed when the year changed, but now it is only allowed after the birthday; so monitoring and verification of age should be more thorough. # **International Age Calculation Method** – Current Year – Birth Year, and subtract 1 year if the birthday hasn’t passed. – Example: If the birth year is March 2022, then the international age in 2023 would be [2023-2022-1](tel:2023-2022-1) (subtract 1 as the birthday hasn’t passed) = 0 years old.



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