March 30, 2013 08:24
The traditional concept of filial duty is fading amongst Koreans, and the family no longer functions as the social safety net it once was, a comprehensive survey suggests.
In the survey by Statistics Korea last year among 37,000 people over 13 or more, only 33.2 percent said children should take care of their retired parents. This is a huge drop from 40.7 percent as late as 2008.
At the time, only 11.9 percent said people should be responsible for themselves in retirement, but that rose to 13.9 percent last year.
In a similar survey in 2008, some 46.6 percent of respondents said their parents took care of their own living expenses, increasing slightly to 48.9 percent in 2012. The proportion who said they are paying for some or all of their parents’ living costs shrank apace, from 52.9 percent to 50.7 percent.
More people instead feel the need for a wider and stronger social safety net from the government. In 2008, 43.6 percent said that more extensive government support for elderly people is required. Last year, that had risen to 48.7 percent.
There is also a growing gap between generations in how they see the role of the family. While 36.6 percent of the people aged 65 or more said children should help with living costs of their parents, only 30.3 percent of those in their 30s agreed.
People with a lower household income were unsurprisingly less willing to look after their parents. Among those with a monthly household income of less than W1 million (US$1=W1,083), 17.1 percent said parents should take care of themselves, compared to only 12.1 percent among those who earned W4-5 million.
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