July 30, 2013 12:39
The percentage of 20-something men in Seoul who consider themselves middle-class or higher is smaller than among men in their 50s. Younger men are also more pessimistic about social mobility than the older men.
According to a report by the Seoul Metropolitan Government on Monday, only 20.4 percent of men in their 20s consider themselves middle-class in political, economic and social status, compared to 25.6 percent of 50-something men.
But some 25.6 percent of the younger men regard themselves as lower-class, while the figure among the older men is 19.8 percent.
Some 29.4 percent of 20-something men said they believe the chances of improving their social status through their own efforts are slim, compared to only 23.9 percent in their 50s.
Asked what determines status, 33.6 percent in their 50s cited income, followed by 31.5 percent for education and 14.1 percent for jobs. But men in their 20s saw education as the most important factor, followed by income and jobs.
Older men have some reason to be more optimistic. In Seoul, men over 60 who found jobs outnumbered newly employed men between 25 and 29 for the first time last year. The number of older men who found work rose 87.4 percent between 2010 and 2012, but that of younger men fell 35.3 percent.
A city government official blamed growing pessimism among the young on demographic change caused by the low birthrate and aging society, together with a tough job market for younger people.
"Another probable reason is that more young men are staying in college longer than before or spending more time preparing for their job hunt even after they graduate from college, so the age when they enter the job market for the first time has shifted up from 25-29 to 30-34," the official said.
Meanwhile, more women than men in their late 20s continue to have a job, with the figures at 335.000 vs. 330,000 last year. They first outnumbered the men in 2008.
Men are also more prone to die. In 2011, 508 men in their 50s among a population of 100,000 died, about three times as many as women in the same age group. Cancer was the biggest cause, followed by suicide and liver disease.
Last year, 41.6 percent of men over 19 or smoked, 24.5 percent drank dangerously, and 31 percent were obese, all higher than among women in the same age group. But 50 percent of men considered themselves healthy, as against 40.2 percent among women, while more women (41.6 percent) than men (38.4 percent) regarded themselves as obese.
The average age at first marriage was 32.4 for men in Seoul last year, and the number of unmarried men in their 40s more than doubled over the past decade from 32,000 in 2000 to 103,000 in 2010.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com