SEOUL, June 4 (Korea Bizwire) — More than 3 out of 10 South Korean senior citizens work low-wage jobs after retirement to help cover their living costs, and their poverty rate still remains high among the members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a report showed Sunday.
The employment rate among those aged 65 and older came to 34.9 percent in 2021, the highest among the OECD member nations, according to a report by Bank of Korea official Oh Tae-hee and Lee Jang-youn, a professor at Incheon National University.
As many seniors have been forced to land low-paying jobs, the average monthly wage for workers aged 68 came to 1.8 million won (US$1,374) last year, far smaller than 3.11 million won for those aged 58.
About 25 percent of South Koreans in their mid-70s had a job, and they earned 1.39 million won per month on average, the report showed.
In 2020, the poverty rate among South Korea’s elderly citizens stood at 40.4 percent, the highest among OECD member nations.
The country’s relative poverty rate among the age bracket also came to 38.9 percent, which refers to the percentage of people living with an income below 50 percent of the median income, according to the report.
The authors warned that the poverty issue among senior citizens could worsen, as the rate of people aged 65 and older is expected to reach 46.4 percent in 2070 from last year’s 17.5 percent.
South Korea became an aged society in 2017, in which the percentage of those aged 65 and older exceeded 14 percent of its population.
The country is widely expected to become a super-aged society in 2025, when the percentage of the elderly will top 20 percent.
South Koreans’ average life expectancy came to 86 years in 2021, compared with 72 years in 1991, according to government data.