Half of Korea's Singles Live in Poverty

  • By Kim Kyung-eun

    April 10, 2023 12:25

    Almost half of all Koreans who live alone struggle with poverty, particularly older women.
    According to the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs, the disposable income of 47.2 percent of one-person households was less than half of the median income in 2020. That compares to just 15.3 percent of total households. 
    The poverty rate among singles has been hovering around 50 percent for the last seven years. Among women who live alone, the poverty rate stood at 55.7 percent in 2020, compared to 34.5 percent for single men, but the gap is narrowing.
    In 2016, the poverty rate among single women was 63.8 percent as against 38.7 percent for men.
    Among senior citizens who live alone, the poverty rate was an alarming 72.1 percent, compared to 38.7 percent for people aged 50 to 64 who live alone, 20.2 percent for people aged 19 to 34 and 19.6 percent for people aged 35 to 49.
    There were 7.17 million single householders in 2021, up 7.9 percent from 2020, accounting for a record one-third of total households, compared to just 20 percent in 2005.
    Statistics Korea forecast the proportion will rise to 39.6 percent by 2050.  
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