Highly educated people and those living in upscale parts of Seoul live longer than others, a survey finds, and the gap has grown over the last decade. The overall death rate dropped and overall life expectancy rose in Seoul, but regional and educational differences have widened.
Seocho District had the lowest death rate of 335 per 100,000 people between 2005 and 2009, according to the study by team led by Prof. Kang Young-ho at the University of Ulsan College of Medicine for the Seoul Metropolitan Government.
The two other districts south of the Han River, Gangnam and Songpa, had the next lowest death rates. That has been true for the entire decade between 2000 and 2009.
Jungrang District had the highest mortality rate of 469 per 100,000, followed by Geumcheon, Dongdaemun, Gangbuk, and Nowon.
The gap between the districts with the lowest and highest mortality rate was 26 percent in 2000 but had grown to 30 percent in 2009.
In 2009, Seocho had the highest life expectancy of 84.5 years and Dongdaemun the lowest of 74.8 years.
The mortality gap based on educational level among adults aged 30-64 also increased over the past 10 years. The rate among college graduates was consistently lower than that among those with only middle school diploma or lower.
In 2000, there were 919 deaths per 100,000 men with little education, compared to 323 among college graduates. In 2009, the figures were 877 and 205. Among women, the rates changed from 262 in 2000 to 346 in 2009 for the less educated, and from 122 to 95 for the highly educated.
In terms of life expectancy between people of different education levels, the gap for men widened from 10.2 years in 2000 to 12.6 years in 2010, and among women from 4.9 years to 6.1 years.
The overall mortality rate in Seoul dropped 34 percent from 566 in 2000 to 394 in 2009. The life expectancy for men increased from 71.6 years to 76.4 years and that for women from 79.2 years to 83 years.
Death from diseases such as lung, gastric and liver cancer declined over the past decade, but suicide deaths increased 2.2 times from 11.3 per 100,000 in 2000 to 24.8 in 2009.
The suicide rate among those with a middle school diploma or lower was also higher than that among college graduates or higher-educated people during this period. Among men, the gap increased 119 percent from 44.9 in 2000 to 98.3 in 2010. Among women, the gap rose from a mere five to 81.