‘Korea’s elderly welfare spending 2nd lowest among OECD nations’
Published : 2013-02-27 20:47
Updated : 2013-02-27 20:47
The poverty rate of South Korea’s elderly population was the highest among advanced countries, but the country’s spending for their welfare was one of the lowest in 2011, a report showed Wednesday.
According to the report from the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs, South Korea was ranked the second lowest among all members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in terms of its spending for the welfare of elders.
From 2006 to 2008, South Korea’s government spending on the elderly population accounted for 1.7 percent of the country’s gross domestic product on average, only ahead of Mexico, whose spending for elderly welfare accounted for 1.1 percent of its GDP during the cited period.
Such a small amount of spending apparently contributed to a large number of the elderly population living in poverty, the report showed, as 45.1 percent of the elderly population in South Korea was said to be living in poverty as of the end of 2011.
The figure contrasts with 30.6 percent of the elderly population in Ireland, which was the second highest among all OECD members, and also the OECD average of 13.5 percent.
The report said a study showed a strong correlation between government spending on elderly welfare and the poverty rate of the elderly population, but that such a relationship only existed when such spending was made in direct financial payments instead of services to elders.
For instance, the amount of South Korea’s spending in welfare services for elders accounted for 0.2 percent of its GDP during the 2006-2008 period, higher than most of OECD countries with higher overall spending on elderly welfare, such as the United States, Turkey, Greece, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand and Belgium.
The amount paid in cash, on the other hand, was again the second smallest among all OECD countries following Mexico. “As there exists a strong relationship between spending on elderly welfare and poverty rate of elders, the country needs to expand the scope of people entitled to such benefits and also expand its cash support,” the report said. (Yonhap News)