중앙데일리

Korea still a Hermit Kingdom, says study

Dec 22,2009
Koreans lead a life that revolves too much around close family and friends, and have much less interest in social movements or issues than people in other advanced countries, according to Statistics Korea yesterday.

The agency took its findings as evidence that the country still has a long way to go to attain social integration, or the incorporation of minority groups into society.

In a report called 2009 Korean Social Trends, Statistics Korea said only 34 percent of respondents said that they had participated in a signature collection campaign for a social cause as of 2005.

The report, which cited a survey by the World Value Survey Association, compared that with 60 percent for Japanese, 74 percent for Americans, 79 percent for Swedes and 80 percent for Australians and Swiss people.

Koreans’ participation rate for peaceful public rallies, 11 percent, and in social boycotts, 6 percent, were also much lower than those for people in other countries, the report showed. The corresponding figures for Swedes were 31 percent and 28 percent. The figures for Japanese were 10 percent and 7 percent while those for Americans were 15 percent and 21 percent.

The report said for an average Korean, 58.4 percent of social interaction outside the family this year was with a small group of friends and acquaintances. Around 20 percent was with a group that belongs to the same religion, while only 6.2 percent and 0.3 percent were made with nonprofit organizations or political groups, respectively.

This may be partly explained by another survey in the same report that said only 28.2 percent of Koreans trust other people, compared with 39.3 percent of Americans, 58.9 percent for Finns and 68 percent for Swedes.

“Many Koreans have a tendency to stick with people they have known for a long time, such as family and alumni groups, and are reluctant to reach out into extended social networks,” said Shim Su-jin, an official with Statistics Korea. “That phenomenon, along with the low trust toward strangers, shows that Korea’s social integration is weaker than some other countries, although it is a matter of debate as to whether it prevents social networking.”

The report also showed that Koreans feel less stable, have less fun and think they contribute less to society in their job. It said Koreans are less likely think that their job presents them with chances to earn a substantial income, get promoted, or to acquire new skills.

Meanwhile, Koreans maintain quite a positive attitude about marriage, the report showed. A 2002 report cited by Statistics Korea found that 58.5 percent of Koreans thought marriage brings more happiness than being single.


By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]




dictionary dictionary | 프린트 메일로보내기 내블로그에 저장