SEOUL, July 25 (Korea Bizwire) – Korea scored 0.2 out of 10 in the ‘Social Relations (Social Support Network)’ category in a recent analysis of the 2015 OECD Social Integration Index. Social Relations is an index that shows the level of mutual support between the members of a society, and is derived by calculating the percentage of people who gave a positive response to whether they have a family or friend to rely on in difficult circumstances.
Only 72.4 percent of Koreans gave a positive answer to the question, indicating the other 27.6 are isolated with no family or friends to call for help. The percentage was also the lowest among the 36 surveyed countries (34 OECD member countries plus Brazil and Russia), and 15.6 percentage points below the average of 88 percent.
Switzerland had the highest percentage of positive responses at 95.8 percent, followed by Denmark (95 percent), Germany (93.6 percent), and Australia (92 percent). The United States (90 percent) and Japan (88.5 percent) displayed above-average results as well.
There was also a clear gap between the younger and older generations in terms of the responses from Koreans.
While 93.26 percent of Koreans aged between 14 and 30 gave a positive response, the figure was only 60.91 percent for those aged over 49 years. The comparative averages of the 36 nations were 93.16 percent and 87.2 percent, respectively. Those aged between 29 and 50 also scored among the lowest, ranking just ahead of Turkey (74.45 percent) at 78.38 percent.
“A social support network is not just about trusting your acquaintances but also about building interpersonal relationships,” said Lee Man-woo, who led the team that presented the analysis of the indices. “And establishing a social support network can not only positively affect one’s health but also help to form communal harmony.”
The OECD Social Integration Index assigns a score of 0 through 10 for 11 categories, including Social Relations, and Korea scored an average of 5, leaving it categorized as an ‘intermediate-level country’. Although it scored high in education (8), jobs (7.7), and personal safety (7.6), scores for work-life balance (5), satisfaction of life (3.3), and social relations (0.2) brought up the rear.
“Poor social relations result in a generational divide, and impede social integration,” Lee added. “There’s a clear need for government policies that can promote harmony between Korea’s older and younger generations, by strengthening the social support network for the elderly and stabilizing the job market for youth.”
By Lina Jang (email@example.com)