Korean Suicide Rate Remains Highest for 10th Year

Korea's suicide rate is one of the highest in the world for the 10th year in a row. 

Based on OECD Health Statistics 2014, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said on Wednesday that the country's suicide rate was 29.1 per 100,000 people in 2012, the highest among 34 OECD member states. The OECD average was 12.1 per 100,000 people.

The smoking rate among men over 15 was the second highest with 37.65 percent, topped only by Greece's 43.7 percent and nearly three times Sweden's 12.8 percent.

Although the number of doctors in Korea was the lowest in the OECD with 2.1 doctors per 1,000 people -- 3.2 being the average -- Koreans visited hospitals most frequently and had the longest period of hospitalization.

The average Korean sees the doctor 14.3 times a year, and spends 16.1 days in hospital as an in-patient, which is nearly double that of the OECD average of 8.4 days. This sent the health and medical costs through the roof.

Korea's health expenditure was W97.1 trillion as of 2012 and accounted for 7.6 percent of the GDP, still lower than the OECD average of 9.3 percent. But it increased rapidly between 2007 and 2010 at 6.6 percent, compared to the OECD average of 2.3 percent.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jul. 03, 2014 12:09 KST