SEOUL, Sept. 6 (Korea Bizwire) – A research report from the Department of Social Welfare at Ehwa Womans University detailing the financial costs of child poverty to society has garnered the attention of the public for its bold claims.
The report states that 363,973 South Korean children are living in absolute poverty. In addition, the financial costs these children incur upon society are projected to be 55.3 trillion won, 3.5 percent of the national GDP.
Postdoctoral research fellow Kim Soo Jung, the author of the report, compiled these figures by taking the proportion of absolute poverty for the entire population in 2014 (4 percent) and focused the parameters on child populations.
When accounting for relative poverty, the numbers nearly doubled, increasing to 682,450 with a projected societal cost of 99.6 trillion won, 6.5 percent of the national GDP.
Absolute poverty measures poverty levels using a universally set measure, typically daily income measured in U.S. dollars. Relative poverty depends on the society the individual lives in and is a measure of living standards compared to other members of the same society.
Based on the results of her report, Kim stressed the need for preemptive action to cure the ills of child poverty early “because the socio-economic costs are immense and the continuation of generational transferal is a severe problem”.
She also added, “Investing in human capital when [the subjects] are in their youth creates the longest duration of time during which those investments can bear fruit.”
Finally, Kim emphasized that the socio-economic costs of child poverty were predominantly indirect rather than direct costs on society. Unemployment and crime were listed in her study as two such indirect costs.