IJSSH 2014 Vol.4(3): 242-245 ISSN: 2010-3646
DOI: 10.7763/IJSSH.2014.V4.355

Poverty amongst the Elderly in South Korea: The Perception, Prevalence, and Causes and Solutions

Sun Jae Lee
Abstract—When attempting to volunteer with a senior citizen welfare center in Seoul, I was originally turned away due to my age. Once persuading the center to allow me to volunteer, I began to realize that there was a bigger issue at hand than simply assisting the elderly. The issue of the high rate of poverty amongst these individuals and many others across South Korea was alarming and motivated me to investigate further into the root cause of the issue, what is currently being done to combat it, and what can be done further to lessen or eradicate this problem. Nearly half of South Koreans at the of 65 or more, are living in poverty; which is the highest among member nations of Organization for economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) [1]. While almost 60 percent of their total income is earned, 15 percent rely on the national pension, and South Korea was ranked the second lowest among all members of the OECD in terms of spending for the welfare of the elderly [1]. With the increasing senior population in South Korea and the rising rate of poverty within that population, the government and general public must move towards accommodating their needs through more agencies and organizations designed to assist them as well as a more established welfare system. Not only this, but there must be a shift in cultural views that will allow the financial responsibility to not be put upon families, but rather become a part of the government’s concern for its population, young and old.

Index Terms—Elderly poverty, South Korea.

Sun Jae Lee is with the Korea International School, South Korea (e-mail: sjlee15@student.kis.or.kr).

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Cite: Sun Jae Lee, " Poverty amongst the Elderly in South Korea: The Perception, Prevalence, and Causes and Solutions," International Journal of Social Science and Humanity vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 242-245, 2014.

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