Rising senior population satisfied

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Rising senior population satisfied

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Korean society is aging faster and the number of Koreans 65 and older is now at its highest, accounting for 13.2 percent of the population.

Government data released Thursday showed that the growing number of Korean seniors are satisfied with their lives and see marriage as a less important factor.

The number of Korean seniors rose about 50 percent from 2005, or by 2.2 million, to 6.57 million last year, and the number has grown by more than a million every five years since 2000, the government said Thursday. The number of Koreans 14 and younger, however, dropped 2.08 million compared to 10 years ago.

Korean seniors are enjoying their lives and becoming more independent, data showed.

The percentage of those who said their everyday life has improved compared to the past rose from 19.1 percent of the total senior population in 2007 to 50.3 percent last year.

“The number of Korean seniors who believe marriage as a must dropped while more people are OK with getting divorced,” said Yoon Yeon-ok, a director at Statistics Korea.

In 2014, 78 percent of Korean seniors believed marriage is a must-do, a sharp drop compared to the 85.2 percent who said it was in a 2006 survey. And the figure for those who said one should never divorce dropped from 81.3 percent of the total in 2006 to 68.9 percent in 2014.

More Koreans over 65 also believe they should take care of themselves.

In 2006, 67.3 percent of seniors said family members should take care of seniors, but the number plummeted to 34.1 percent in 2014. “More Koreans seniors believe it is their job or the government’s to take care of seniors,” said Yoon.

Data showed that Korean seniors still believe in traditional gender roles, however, even though this has eased.

The percentage of seniors who believed housework is a woman’s job was 62.6; the figure fell from 78 percent in 2008.

One in four Korean seniors attend cultural or sports events, and movies were a popular activity, accounting for 73 percent of such events. They said they spent most of the time watching television and they wanted to spend their time in the future traveling.

A 65-year-old Korean male believes he can live another 18.3 years, while the figure for women was higher at 22.8 years.


BY KIM YOUNG-NAM [kim.youngnam@joongang.co.kr]

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