Elderly people are the unhappiest age group in Korea. A nationwide survey by Hyundai Research Institute earlier this month found that only 41.5 percent of some 1,000 respondents said they are happy.
Asked what factors contributed to their happiness, a majority of men and women said inter-personal relationships. Good health and job satisfaction also made the list.
But the results go both ways. Respondents also cited relationships and work-related issues as some of the most stressful factors in life. Economic problems and a lack of leisure time were the top reasons for unhappiness.
Respondents in their 20s were the happiest age group, with similar figures for those in their 30s, 40s and 50s. But the average level of happiness dropped sharply among those over 60.
The trend contrasts with European countries like Switzerland, where senior citizens are generally the happiest demographic.
Researchers say the problem is due in part to sharp cuts in disposable income after retirement.
"Coupled with a lack of preparation for older age and a rise in single households, these trends have been reducing happiness," a researcher said.