SEJONG, Nov. 26 (Korea Bizwire) – More South Koreans are feeling the pinch of rising social security outlays as the country moves to expand its welfare infrastructure, a nationwide poll showed Thursday.
The 2015 society trend survey on 39,000 people across the country in May revealed that 65.6 percent of respondents said outlays for health are becoming a burden, while 63.9 percent of them said the same thing about national pension premiums.
These numbers are up from 64.9 percent and 62.3 percent, respectively, from the year before.
The latest findings also showed that 39.4 percent of South Koreans felt money paid to get employment insurance coverage was a strain. This is up from 38.7 percent reported in the previous year.
Despite feeling the pressure, the general public said the country needed more medical facilities and welfare support centers.
People, moreover, called for additional employment support, as well as assistance in medical and health-related areas.
Demand for hiring support stood at 33.5 percent, while the number of medical and health-related support was 19.4 percent. It said people requesting direct income assistance reached 15.5 percent.
“Young people generally were more interested in employment, while seniors were keen on greater coverage in the medical and health areas,” the statistical agency said.
The survey also showed 72.6 percent of households said they were taking steps to prepare for retirement, with 55.1 percent saying they were relying on the national pension program.
The nationwide poll then said that 59.3 percent of South Koreans said their income level was unchanged from a year earlier and 66.2 percent said debt levels had stayed the same.
Of the total, 16.8 percent said their income improved compared with 2014, with 22.9 percent saying their debt burden had risen on-year.
Among people making more than 6 million won (US$5,230) per month, 41 percent said their income rose from the year before, with 30.4 percent of people making 3-4 million won per month saying their debt rose vis-a-vis the year before.
The finding then showed 56.6 percent of South Koreans did not think their financial conditions will change in 2016, with 22.8 percent expecting things to get better.
Related to consumption, 48.1 percent said they were “neutral” about their circumstances at present, with only 13.9 percent expressing satisfaction.
The public said if they had to cut back on spending they would start with food, clothing and entertainment.
Of the people checked, 6 out of 10 felt insecure about their current employment.
Reflecting this, among people under 29, large numbers said they wanted to work for the government and public companies, which offer greater job security than private sector jobs.