More than half of Koreans consider their socioeconomic status to be unstable, a survey showed Wednesday.
In the survey conducted by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs, 60 percent of the respondents said their socioeconomic status is unstable while 8 percent said “very” unstable. Only 1 percent saw their status as “very” stable.
Insufficient income was the biggest factor. Other factors were employment instability, distrust in society, lack of governmental support and health problems.
According to government data, the average family income has risen by 16 percent since 2008, but family expenditures such as education, housing, health care also surged each year, as well as the number of low- and middle-income families in debt.
Employment has also stumbled due to a low rate of youths and women in the workforce, slightly over 40 percent and 50 percent, respectively. Last year, Korea’s female economic participation rate was 55.6 percent, far lower than the OECD average of 61.8 percent.
The analysts suggested that the government introduce new regulations to improve employment and bridge the gap between socioeconomic conditions.
Easing the tax burden on working couples, who currently face higher taxes than single people, is one way, experts said.
Experts also said the survey results reflect the country’s growing socioeconomic polarization and current unemployment problem.
By Kim Da-sol (firstname.lastname@example.org)