Twenty-eight percent of 9.84 million households can neither pay off the principal and interest of their debt nor make ends meet with their current income, according to a study. Their debt amounts to W257.4 trillion (US$1=W1,130), taking up 31.6 percent of the total debt of all indebted households.
The figures come from a report released by the LG Economic Research Institute on Sunday. The think tank analyzed Statistics Korea's 2011 household finance index survey and found that 3.1 percent of all households have more debt than assets, with their income failing to cover principal and interest of their loans and their minimum cost of living. Their debt accounts for 4.4 percent of all household debt.
Kim Kun-woo of the institute said the real figure may well be higher. "This analysis fails to reflect household debt that has piled up since the second half of last year since it's based on statistics compiled as of March 2011," he said. "It's possible that the number of bankrupt households and the size of their debt have further increased since then."