SEOUL, Dec. 28 (Korea Bizwire) – Despite increasing discourse about war with North Korea, South Koreans are actually more concerned with poverty, a new survey has found.
According to the survey conducted by MBC and the National Assembly Chairman’s Office, nearly 4 in 10 people said financial difficulties such as poverty were the most concerning factor for those living in South Korea, while 24 percent feared war the most.
The findings reflect many South Koreans’ relatively indifferent attitude towards the likelihood of going to war with North Korea, which often puzzles other countries.
While over 60 percent of the respondents cited poverty and war as two of the biggest challenges facing South Koreans, 19 percent said prejudice and discrimination concern them the most, while others named disease and natural disasters.
When broken down by age, individuals aged between 20 and 59 were mostly concerned with poverty, while those aged over 60 feared war the most, showing a stark difference in opinion between the younger generations and those that experienced the Korean War.
“North Korea is placing so much emphasis on nuclear weapons, yet South Korea doesn’t seem to be doing much in response,” one person interviewed by MBC said.
Another interviewee expressed concerns over increasing financial burdens.
“Nearly half of our income is being spent on children. As someone who has a child, it’s not realistic to buy a house no matter how much I want to.”
When asked about the prospect of a war on the Korean peninsula, around 39 percent believed that it is likely, while 54 percent said the chances are low.
Despite the growing tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, the survey showed the majority of the South Korean public don’t see a war with North Korea as imminent.
Interestingly, opinions varied depending on the region.
Though the most regions in the country saw a war with North Korea as unlikely, those in North Gyeongsang Province believed there are higher chances of going to war with the North, while opinions equally varied in Gangwon Province.
The Gallop survey conducted at the request of MBC and the National Assembly Chairman’s Office was conducted with a sample of 1,031 adults across the country, and has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.