On August 13, 2014, the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs published the results of its survey on the stability Koreans feel in their social and economic positions. The telephone poll was carried out from November 21 to December 7, 2012 and 1,000 respondents participated in it.
Sixty percent of the surveyees answered that they felt unstable. The percentage was divided into 30 percent answering somewhat unstable, 22 percent answering unstable, and 8 percent answering very unstable. Meanwhile, 22 percent and 17 percent of the respondents said they were pretty stable and stable, respectively. Only 1 percent gave the response of very stable.
Thirty-three percent of the participants mentioned insufficient income as the foremost cause of their concerns. It was followed by occupational instability (24 percent) such as unemployment and business shutdown, distrust in society (23 percent), the lack of government assistance (11 percent), and health and disability problems (9 percent). In this vein, 27.1 percent picked job problems as their biggest worry. The answer was followed by age (26.7 percent), education of their children (20.4 percent), medical and healthcare issues (17.3 percent), and safety and security (7.8 percent).
The answers clearly show that Korean society, viewed from the eyes of the general public, is filled with a wide variety of fear factors. For instance, the ratio of indebted low-income households is on the rise, and 68.1 percent of homes have yet to repay both principal and interest. As of 2012, 58.5 percent of Korean households had financial debts of 61.47 million won (US$60,203) on average.
Besides, the rate of employment of those aged from 15 to 29 has remained at around 40 percent for over six years, while the female employment rate has remained slightly over 50 percent during the same period. Employees retired at 53 years of age on average. Baby boom generation retirees, born between 1955 and 1963, are increasingly seeking part-time and self-employed jobs, which could result in the swelling of the vulnerable class.