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S. Korean senior citizens remain mired in poverty: report

By Yonhap

Published : Jan. 19, 2023 - 10:21

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South Korean senior citizens' poverty rate has been on the mend but is still high among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a report showed Thursday.

The relative poverty rate of South Koreans aged 65 and older stood at 37.6 percent in 2021, down 1.3 percentage points from a year earlier, according to the report on sustainable development goals by Statistics Korea.

The figure for male senior citizens came to 31.3 percent, while that for women amounted to 42.6 percent.

The rate has been on the decline, but it had been in the 40 percent range before dropping below the 40 percent mark for the first time in 2020.

The relative poverty rate refers to the percentage of people living with an income below 50 percent of the median income.

Analysts said the steady improvement stemmed largely from the country's introduction of the basic pension for the elderly, which amounted to 300,000 won ($240) per month, in 2021.

The report showed that the relative poverty rate for the country's elderly people was far higher than 10.6 percent for people in the 18-65 age group. The percentage was about 2.8 times the OECD average of 13.5 percent.

An increasing number of elderly people in South Korea are grappling with economic hardships amid rapid aging as they find it difficult to get quality jobs after retirement and to live solely on pensions.

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. (Yonhap)