Korea Has Worst Social Safety Net Among Rich Countries

  • By Yang Mo-deum

    July 25, 2016 12:27

    Korea lags behind all other members of the OECD in terms of its social safety net. The National Assembly Research Service analyzed social cohesion indicators in the OECD, and Korea scored particularly poorly in the category of social network support. 

    The category is based on the proportion of people who said yes when asked if they have friends, family members or colleagues to rely on in times of need. The findings come from a Gallup poll of 1,000 people.

    Only some 72.4 percent of Koreans said they have someone to rely on, down seven percentage points between 2009 and 2014 and the lowest among 34 OECD nations, Brazil and Russia.

    Switzerland ranked highest with 95.8 percent, followed by Denmark (95 percent), Germany (93.6 percent) and Australia (92 percent), while the U.S. (90 percent) and Japan (88.5 percent) higher than the OECD average of 88 percent.

    The OECD said a lack of support from peers leads to a "huge deterioration in the quality of lives," while it is easier to find jobs in countries with a strong social network and people in those countries tend to be healthier.

    Prof. Chang Duk-jin at Seoul National University said, "The adage that Koreans are warm people is a thing of the past. The traditional support system has collapsed and people must handle their problems alone now."

    Overall Korea scored five out of 10 on the index, well below the average of six points.

    The index is the average score in 11 categories like social network support, education, job availability and personal safety.

    Korea scored relatively high in education (eight points), jobs (7.7 points) and personal safety (7.6 points), but low on work-life balance (five points), satisfaction with life (3.3 points) and social network support (a dismal 0.2 point).

    At the top were Norway (eight points), Denmark (7.9), Switzerland (7.8) and Sweden (7.7), and at the bottom Chile (4.5 points), Turkey (3.8 points) and Mexico (3.4 points). 

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