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Survey Showed 46% of Elderly Citizens Plan to Live on Their Own.

Survey Showed 46% of Elderly Citizens Plan to Live on Their Own.

Posted February. 23, 2003 22:22,   


Half of the aged couples are reported to plan to live on their own, not relying on their children. In addition, many of them think economic troubles are more important problem than health or loneliness.

According to "2002 Social Statistics for Family, Welfare and Labor" reported by Korea Traditional Statistical Office on the 23rd, social structure including old age security, job, gender discrimination as well as others such as economy is getting westernized. Nationwide 30000 families over the age of fifteen were surveyed for the first time in four years since 1998.

▽Less than half of the parents are living with their children. = The statistics showed that families in which the parents are living with their children were 42.7%, which is less than half. In 1998, those families are 54.6%.

Concerning the support for the aged parents, 70.7% of the surveyed said that "the rest of the family is under the obligation to support old parents," which is dropped from 89.9% in 1998. In 1998, 45.5% of the surveyed said that "competent son or daughter should support old parents" but the percentage is also sharply reduced to 21.2%.

On the contrary, 9.6% said “Old parents are responsible for their own support," which is up from 8.1% in 1999. 18.2% said "family, the government and society are all responsible.”

Old parents are not relying on their children for their life of old age. Among those who are aged over 60, 53.0% responded that they want to live with their children, 45.8% responded that they do not want to live with their children, and 1.2% gave other responses.

The problems of old age were in order of economic problem (36.8%), health problem (27.4%) and loneliness and isolation (16.9%).

The householders who are preparing to provide for their old age is 64.5%, which is 11.2% up from 1998. The ways to prepare were in order of public pension (28.4%), private pension (15.9%) and savings and installment savings (13.6%).

▽Gender discrimination is diminished but still frequent. = Seven out of ten people responded that gender discrimination exits in social life, but the numerical value decreased to 69.7% from 77.1%. Those who think gender discrimination exist at work also decreased to 67.3% from 74.1%.

Concerning housework share, 58.7% responded that wives are mainly responsible for but the husbands should help. 30.7% said, “Wives and husband should share the work equally.”

Concerning the marriage, 69.1% answered that marriage is requisite, which is a little decreased from 73.5% four years ago. Those who think one shall not divorce or remarry reduced to 58.4% from 60.35, 16.7% from 19.2% respectively.

▽Stability is the primary factor in job choice. = Important factors in choosing jobs were in order of stability (34.4%0, income (21.5%), aptitude (16.4%) and prospect (16.1%). Stability was also the primary factor in 1998, the numerical value was much higher (41.5%).

Concerning the women’s employment, overwhelming majority of 86.6% responded that women should get jobs. And as for the proper time for women to quit, 35.4% responded, “As far as they want, women can work regardless housework”, which is up from 26.8% in 1998.

Kwang-Hyun Kim kkh@donga.com