SEOUL, Dec. 12 (Korea Bizwire) — The elderly in South Korea participate in long-term economic activities to support themselves, but the poverty rate is very high.
According to a recent report from the National Assembly Research Service (NARS), Koreans’ life expectancy stood at 82.4 years as of 2016, ranking 10th among 36 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries.
The life expectancy was up 20.1 years from 62.3 years in 1970. Given that the average life expectancy of OECD countries increased by 10.5 years during the same period, the rate increased almost at a rapid pace.
Furthermore, the ratio of senior citizens participating in economic activities also ranked first or second among OECD member countries.
In particular, the economic activity participation rate among Korean senior citizens aged 70 to 74 was 35.3 percent, more than double the OECD average of 16.2 percent.
On the other hand, the poverty rate among senior citizens stood at 43.8 percent, an overwhelming number among OECD countries.
The OECD average elderly poverty rate was 13.5 percent. Estonia, which ranked second at 35 percent, showed a gap of 8 percentage points from Korea.
South Korea also ranked first among OECD member states for its high elderly suicide rate. It ranked number one in all age groups, which were divided to five categories from 65 years and older.
The NARS attributed the high economic activity rate among senior citizens in Korea to the high elderly poverty rate. This means that senior citizens are forced to seek jobs due to inadequate public pensions.
D. M. Park (firstname.lastname@example.org)