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South Korea’s Elderly Poverty Rate Highest in OECD
Senior Koreans' Life Expectancy above OECD Average
South Korea’s Elderly Poverty Rate Highest in OECD
  • By Jung Suk-yee
  • December 5, 2019, 08:55
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Statistics Korea says the poverty rate of Korean senior citizens is the highest in the OECD.

Statistics Korea announced on Dec. 4 that the life expectancy of South Korean senior citizens aged 65 or more is above the OECD average and their poverty rate is the highest in the OECD.

Specifically, as of last year, their life expectancy was 79.8 in the case of males and 88.1 in the case of females, 1.7 and 2.4 higher than the respective OECD averages. When it comes to those aged 65, the expected remaining life was 18.7 years for males and 22.8 years for females with the respective OECD averages at 18 years and 21.3 years.

According to various indices, about half of South Korean senior citizens are living in poverty. For example, the elderly poverty rate, which indicates the ratio of senior citizens falling short of 50 percent the overall median income, amounted to 43.8 percent in 2017. It is the highest in the OECD, in which the average elderly poverty rate was 14.8 percent that year. South Korea’s elderly poverty rate on an income basis is as high as approximately 30 percent, too.

The national pension South Korean senior citizens are heavily reliant on is about to be exhausted. According to the National Assembly Budget Office, the total reserves of the National Pension Service are estimated to reach zero in 2054 after increasing from 681.5 trillion won to 1,430.9 trillion won from 2019 to 2039. In addition, the number of national pension holders, 21.87 million at present, is likely to continue to decrease.