Seniors are supporting themselves thanks to gov't jobs

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Seniors are supporting themselves thanks to gov't jobs

A job center in Seoul in July. Seniors are becoming more economically independent thanks to various governmernt job programs. [YONHAP]

A job center in Seoul in July. Seniors are becoming more economically independent thanks to various governmernt job programs. [YONHAP]

 Korea's baby boomers are even more economically independent than before.  
 
A study by Statistics Korea released Monday found that 57.7 percent of people over the age of 59 said they made their own livings rather than relying economically on children or other family members.  
 
That’s up from 49.7 percent in the last such study in 2015.  
 
A key contributing factor is the availability of jobs for seniors. Thanks to government programs, people over the age of 59 is the only age group that has seen a continuous increase in jobs.  
 
According to the study, 19.9 percent of the seniors last year made their own earnings through jobs. Some 6.9 percent lived on earnings of a spouse.  
When combining the two, the seniors who lives on their own through holding jobs accounted for 26.8 percent of the total. In 2015, that figure was 23.4 percent.  
 
Some 10.7 percent said they relied on children for their living expenses, a drop from 16.4 percent in 2015. Some 11.1 percent said they relied on government subsidies, a drop from 13 percent five years ago.  
 
“The baby boomer generation has a higher ratio of college educations compared to the previous generation and they are relatively better prepared including wealth accumulation for life after retirement,” said Jung Nam-soo, Statistics Korea's director on population census.  
 
Baby boomers in Korea are people born between 1955 and 1963.
 
The study also found that the unmarried population has increased, particularly among people in their 30s.  
 
The study  found that 55.9 percent or 24.6 million people aged 15 or older said that they were married in 2020. Those who weren’t numbered 13.7 million, or 31.1 percent. Those that were divorced accounted for 5.8 percent or 2.54 million.  
 
Compared to 2015, those that were unmarried increased 0.2 percentage points while those that divorced increased 0.7 percent.  
 
By age, people in their 30s were more likely to be single.  
 
Last year 42.5 percent of people in their 30s were single, up from 36.3 percent in 2015.  
The number of singles increases among both men and women in their 30s.  
 
Education levels seemed significant in the choice to remain single.  
 
Among men, 27.3 percent of those who graduated from a two or three-year college remained single, followed by 23.1 percent of those with a four-year college degree and 11.8 percent of those with more advanced degrees.  
 
Among women, the group with the largest percentage of singles was women with a masters’ degree or higher at 22.1 percent followed by those with a four-year college degree (20 percent) and those who graduated from two-to-three year colleges (16.5 percent).  
 
The study included information on pets for the first time.  
 
According to the study, in 2020 there were nearly 3.13 million households that raised pets, or 15 percent of all households.  
 
Households that raised dogs were the most -- 2.42 million or 11.6 percent of all households in the country -- while cats trailed behind with 717,000, accounting for 3.4 percent.  
 
Families led by women tend to have more pets.  
 
Among households led by women 1.08 million, or 15.8 percent of all such households, raised pets. In the case of households led by men, 2.05 million had pets, or 14.5 percent.  
   
 

BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]
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