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Study: Nation’s quality of life has improved

Mar 16,2017
Huh, a 40-year-old working for an online ad agency said although life is more convenient than 10 years ago thanks to the wide use of internet-connected gadgets like smartphones, he’s doubtful if his quality of life has improved.

“Education costs are high, living expenses are high and property prices have gone up significantly that the very idea of buying my own apartment seems nothing more than a dream,” he said. “The country may have moved up to be an advanced economy, but as a participant raising two children, it’s hard to say that the quality of our lives have changed significantly.”

While he also believes Korea is one of the safest countries in the world, he feels a little insecure over the government handling of national crises like the sinking of the Sewol ferry that claimed the lives of students or outbreaks of contagious diseases.

However, according to the government’s first report assessing the quality of life released Wednesday, life in Korea has improved since 2006 especially in areas such as education, income and spending and even safety.

According to Statistics Korea and the Ministry of Strategy and Finance’s report, the composite public’s life quality index has improved 11.8 percent between 2006 and 2015.

During the period, the GDP per capita has increased 28.6 percent.

Education improved the most with a 23.9 percent bump. Safety increased 22.2 percent and income and spending and welfare rose more than 16 percent. The areas that saw low growth were employment and wages at 3.2 percent, housing at 5.2 percent and health improving 7.2 percent.

Family and community quality was the only area that saw a decline, with the index falling 1.4 percent compared to 2006.

The government said this was largely because of the changing family demographics. In 2006, single-parent families accounted for 8.8 percent of all households in the country. That rose to 9.5 percent by 2015. The percentage of the elderly living alone also rose, from 18.1 percent to 20.8 percent. This has resulted in weakening of a sense of belonging, while suicide rates rose from 21.8 people per 100,000 people in 2006 to 26.5 in 2015.

The government acknowledged the difference between what the indexes show and what the public actually feels, especially regarding safety.

In the report, the government noted the difference was largely attributed to the widespread negative view of the government’s safety management since the Sewol ferry accident. Additionally, deaths of children by accident have fallen from 7 children in 100,000 to 3.1 in the same period.


BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]