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Income level of elderly households keeps worsening: report

All News 14:55 February 29, 2016

SEJONG, Feb. 29 (Yonhap) -- The income level of elderly households in South Korea has continued to deteriorate over the past several years mainly due to the retirement of main bread earners, a government report showed Monday.

The financial welfare report by Statistics Korea showed one in five households made up of seniors over 60 saw their earnings backtrack from 2011 to 2014.

It said 20.9 percent of households saw earnings worsen, while 14.8 percent saw improved numbers. Of the total checked, 64.3 percent said income remained unchanged in the cited period.

"The higher percentage of households reporting losses in income is due to people retiring from work when they reach 60, and can be seen as a natural development," the agency said.

It, however, said that the pace of households reporting income losses did accelerate slightly from 18.6 percent tallied in the 2011-2013 period.

The statistical agency said that income losses were more pronounced among the top 40 percent bracket.

Among the top 20 percent of elderly households in 2011, 54.5 percent said they earned less, while 53.7 percent of households in the top 20-40 percent range, claimed they were making less in 2014 compared to 2011. Losses in income were also reported among elderly households whose earnings stood in the middle of the pack.

Reflecting such trends, 18.2 percent of elderly households who made more than the national median income in 2011 claimed they were now below the poverty line in 2014.

On the positive side, the latest report showed that 38.1 percent of all households in the country that made less than the median income five years ago, said they made more in 2014. This compares favorably to 8.4 percent of all households who made more than the average in 2011, but said they made less four years later.

"Households where the main bread earner in his or her late 30s were able to earn more, with numbers for those in their 40s and 50s also managing to move up," the agency said.

Despite some fluctuations, 55.1 percent of local households reported no change in their income levels in the cited period, while earnings by lower income households actually increased, it said.

This is due to the introduction of basic pension given to seniors and expansion of subsidies offered by the government to get people to work, the office said.

yonngong@yna.co.kr
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