Jim McMahon

South Koreans may soon shave up to two years off their ages. The nation counts age in three different ways: Under the most widely used method—called “Korean age”—kids are considered a year old at birth, and they add a year every January 1, so an infant born on December 31 would be 2 the next day. South Korea also counts “international age,” the number of years since birth, for legal purposes, and “year age,” which starts at zero but adds a year

every January 1, so a baby born on December 31 would turn 1 the following day. The various systems are confusing, so President Yoon Suk-yeol plans to change the civil code to create a unified counting method by the end of next year. He has support: A recent poll found 7 out of 10 adults favor getting rid of the Korean age system. But some people might have a hard time letting go of the old ways, experts note. “From a sociology perspective, customs are so deeply rooted in a society that change won’t happen overnight,” says Yoon In-jin, a professor at Korea University. “The change is desirable, but we’ll have to see.”