SEOUL, Dec. 20 (Korea Bizwire) — Nearly 60 percent of South Koreans aged between 40 and 64 held debt in 2021 as more people took out loans to purchase houses amid soaring property costs, data showed Tuesday.
The proportion of middle-aged South Koreans who borrowed money from banks or other financial institutes came to 57.3 percent last year, up 0.8 percentage point from 2020, data compiled by Statistics Korea showed.
Their median debt reached 58 million won (US$44,500) last year, soaring 11.6 percent from a year earlier. Median debt is a mid-point debt that divides borrowers into two equal groups.
People in their early 40s held the highest amount of debt at 74.4 million won. Those in their early 60s saw their debt reach 42 million won.
The country’s household debt has been repeatedly cited as the main drag on Asia’s fourth-largest economy, as households’ high indebtedness is feared to curb domestic demand and thus crimp economic growth.
South Korea’s total household credit grew in the third quarter of this year despite rising borrowing costs.
Outstanding household credit had reached 1,870.6 trillion won as of end-September, up 2.2 trillion won from three months earlier, separate data from the Bank of Korea showed.
Household credit refers to credit purchases and loans for households extended by financial institutions.
Meanwhile, the number of middle-aged people who owned homes came to 8.84 million in 2021, up 2 percent from 8.66 million tallied a year earlier. They accounted for 43.8 percent of the total middle-aged people.
The data also showed that 66.4 percent of middle-aged people were employed in 2021, up from the previous year’s tally of 64.9 percent.
The average earnings of middle-aged people with income came to 38.9 million won, up 5.4 percent on-year. Those in late 40s boasted the highest earnings of 42.3 million won.
The total number of middle-aged people came to 20.1 million in 2021, up 0.5 percent on-year. They took up 40.3 percent of the country’s population of 52 million, up 0.2 percentage point on-year.