Korea’s elderly poverty rate tops OECD

By Kim Yon-se
  • Published : May 22, 2015 - 18:30
  • Updated : May 22, 2015 - 18:30
South Korea recorded the highest poverty rate for elderly citizens among 34 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a report from the Paris-based organization showed Friday.

According to the report, 49.6 percent of senior Koreans aged 65 or more were found to have lived below the poverty line as of 2012. The number far exceeded the OECD average of 12.6 percent to top the list in elderly poverty rate.

Over the past few years, a contributing factor to elderly poverty in Korea has been its low net pension replacement rate of about 46 percent, which is also far below the OECD average of 65 percent, according to think tanks including the Korea Labor Institute.

Several OECD members including Japan and Mexico had a net pension replacement rate lower than South Korea. But they have not seen their elderly poverty rate nearly as high as Korea’s.

In contrast, Korea reported relatively low poverty rates among those younger than 65, compared the OECD average.

Meanwhile, the data showed that countries like the U.S., the U.K., Korea and Japan, recorded wide income disparity.

Among the members that posted relatively narrow income gaps were Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.

By Kim Yon-se (