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Low-income Koreans more suicidal than richer people: report

All News 15:20 January 21, 2016

Seoul, Jan. 21 (Yonhap) -- South Koreans in the low-income bracket think about committing suicide much more than people at higher income levels, a report showed Thursday.

According to the report by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs, one out of 15 low income earners has thought about killing themselves in the past year, 4.3 times higher than those in higher income brackets.

The low income bracket refers to those who earn less than 60 percent of the median income for all Koreans. The degree of depression felt by the low income bracket was 2.7 times higher than non-low income earners.

The report, based on a survey of 7,188 households across the country in 2015, showed 6.22 percent of low-income earners thought about suicide compared with 1.43 percent of the people in other brackets.

One percent of low-income earners made plans to kill themselves and 0.16 percent actually attempted suicide last year, higher than 0.16 percent and 0.02 percent for non-low income brackets.

The degree of depression felt by people in the low-income bracket was 10.5 out of the full 60 points, much higher than 3.9 for those in higher income brackets.

Less than half of low-income earners subscribed to medical insurance. The subscription ratio for those in the low income bracket was 31.79 percent compared with 87.7 percent for other income bracket people.

As for smoking and drinking habits, low-income earners smoke and drink less than those in higher-income brackets. The smoking rate for low-income earners was 15.1 percent, compared with 20.14 percent for people with higher incomes.

About 77 percent of those in the low-income bracket don't drink at all or drink once a month compared to 55 percent for richer people, according to the report.

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