SEJONG, Jan. 3 (Korea Bizwire) – The poverty level among South Koreans in their 30s and 40s has risen on the back of growing household debt.
According to a joint report on household financial assets released by Statistics Korea, the Financial Supervisory Service and the Bank of Korea, the poverty rate among those in their 30s rose from 8.9 percent to 9.1 percent in 2016, while the figure for those in their 40s rose from 10.1 percent to 11.3 percent.
Growing household debt has been linked to the rising poverty rates recorded among those in their 30s and 40s, as household debt in South Korea reached around 70 million won as of last March, up 4.5 percent from the same time last year.
When broken down by age, households led by individuals in their 40s had around 85 million won in debt on average while those in their 50s and 30s followed closely.
Debt among 30-somethings grew by 16.1 percent on average last year, the fastest rate among all age groups.
When it came to the debt-to-disposable-income ratio, those in their 40s had the highest figure of 133.1 percent, while those in their 30s followed closely with the ratio of 127.1 percent.
The report defines people in poverty as those earning less than half of South Korea’s median income.
The poverty rate grew fastest among seniors, with an estimated 52.8 percent of over 60s falling under the category.
The figure grew from 60.2 percent to 61.8 percent among those older than 65 over the same period.
In the meantime, the poverty rates among those in their 20s and 50s dropped from 10.9 percent to 10.3 percent and 14.9 percent to 14 percent, respectively, making the 40 to 49 age group the most poverty-stricken generation excluding seniors.
Women’s poverty rates based on market gains rose to 21.6 percent from 21.1 percent in 2016, while the figure among men grew from 16.9 percent to 17.3 percent over the same period.
The poverty rate among those separated from their spouse by death stood at 56.2 percent, while the figure stood at 41 percent among divorcees.
Married people living with their spouse and unmarried people had significantly lower poverty rates of 18.3 percent and 14.4 percent, respectively.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)