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S. Korea's welfare improves, but happiness does not: study

All Headlines 09:05 April 05, 2017

SEOUL, April 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's state of welfare has improved somewhat over the past five years, but the level of happiness felt by the people has fallen, research said Wednesday.

Such results are the conclusions of a study by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs (KIHASA), which derives the "KIHASA-Chosun Welfare Index" examining the level of well-being in member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development including South Korea. The latest research measured 34 nations in five areas -- economic vitality, fiscal sustainability, welfare needs, welfare fulfillment and national happiness -- using 23 indicators.

South Korea's score in well-being rose to put it at 21st among the studied countries, up two notches from 2011.

In terms of national happiness, which considered factors such as satisfaction with life, suicide rates and life expectancy, the score fell to bring South Korea down to 33rd in the ranking from 30th.

Satisfaction with life ranked 27th, the same ranking for national transparency. South Korea placed last for both suicide and fertility rates. Availability of personal time ranked 25th, while life expectancy ranked 10th.

Economic vitality, which measures per capita GDP, labor productivity and economic growth, fell from 6th to 8th. Fiscal sustainability, which reflects national debt level and public financial burdens, stayed the same at 3rd.

Welfare needs, which measures the Gini coefficient, income distribution and economic misery, placed 10th, up from 12th. Welfare fulfillment ranking rose from 32nd to 28th.

"From the economic perspective, the indices for economic vitality, fiscal sustainability and welfare fulfillment are improving, but national happiness has dropped. The level of welfare that people can actually feel won't have changed much," the report said.

S. Korea's welfare improves, but happiness does not: study - 1


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