Korea Tops OECD’s Poverty and Suicide Rates Among Older People
A recent study has shed light on the serious issue of poverty and suicide rates among the elderly, revealing that Korea ranks first in these distressing statistics among countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). However, the study also highlights the positive impact of public transfers, which are government financial support programs, in reducing depression among the elderly.
While basic pension benefits and guaranteed basic security have proven effective in alleviating depression, the study does not confirm the same impact for national pension programs. Additionally, the research suggests that private insurance and family support during periods of relocation actually have a negative effect on depression.
The findings were presented in a paper titled “An Exploratory Study on the Moderating Role of Transfer Income in the Impact of Multidimensional Poverty of the Elderly on Depression” at the 2023 Korea Well-Being Panel Academic Conference.
The study utilized three-year data from the Korean Welfare Panel (2019-2021) to analyze variables related to multidimensional poverty, depression, and income transfers among the elderly. The correlation between poverty and depression was examined across four dimensions: income, housing, medical care, and education. The results indicated a positive impact of poverty on depression, affirming that individuals in poverty experience higher levels of depression.
Researchers identified various factors that contribute to poverty. These include disposable income less than 50% of the median, housing costs exceeding 30% of income, inadequate housing area based on the number of household members, medical expenses comprising more than 40% of income, and lack of a high school diploma.
The study further delved into the effect of public and private transfers on the transition from poverty to depression. It revealed that only basic pension benefits and guaranteed basic security alleviate depression among public transfers. Individuals who received these benefits experienced lower levels of depression compared to those who did not, regardless of their risk of poverty.
In contrast, the national pension program showed no significant impact on reducing depression, regardless of poverty levels. The researchers attribute this finding to insufficient benefit levels offered by the national pension system.
Interestingly, private insurance and family support were found to be ineffective in reducing depression caused by poverty. In fact, individuals who received family support exhibited higher levels of depression compared to those without support, irrespective of their risk of poverty. The research suggests that the economic stress associated with family relocation may counteract the positive effects on living standards, ultimately impacting mental well-being.
In light of these findings, the paper emphasizes that addressing economic instability in old age requires collective social-level solutions rather than individual-level approaches. Furthermore, it calls for the development and implementation of policies aimed at reducing extreme elderly poverty in Korea, which remains alarmingly high compared to other developed welfare countries.
By Seulgi Yoon, Reporter (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Korea ranks 1st in OECD poverty and suicide rates among older people
The effect of basic pension benefits and basic security on alleviating depression
National pension and child maintenance have a negative effect on depression
Although the problem of the elderly is serious, with poverty and suicide rates of the elderly first in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a study showed that public transfers, which are financial support from the government, reduce depression in the elderly.
However, unlike the basic pension or guaranteed basic benefits, the impact of the national pension has not been confirmed among public transfers. Support from private insurance and family (parents and children) during private relocation was found to have a negative effect on depression.
According to the paper ‘An exploratory study on the moderating role of transfer income in the impact of multidimensional poverty of the elderly on depression’ (Song Chi-ho, Catholic University) presented at the 2023 Korea Well-Being Panel Academic Conference on the 2nd. , national pension among public transfers ·As a result of examining the impact of basic pension, basic security benefits, and private transfers among private transfers on moderating the effect on poverty-induced depression, the basic pension and basic security benefits have alleviated effect of poverty on depression, the moderate effect was found to be greater among the elderly at risk of poverty than among those without risk of poverty.
Elderly people walk on the streets near Tapgol Park in Jongno-gu, Seoul on the 30th. Photo = Reporter Kang Jin-hyung aymsdream@
The study constructed variables related to multidimensional poverty, depression, and income transfer among the elderly based on three-year data from the Korean Welfare Panel 15 to 17 (2019 to 2021). When we examined the correlation between poverty and depression in four dimensions, including income, housing, medical care, and education, for 3,636 seniors aged 65 or over who responded to a panel survey over three years, we confirmed that poverty has an impact positive (+) effect on depression. In other words, the level of depression was high when people lived in poverty.
Researchers found that if a household’s disposable income is less than 50% of the median (income), if housing costs are more than 30% of the household’s income, or if it does not meet the required housing area standard for the number of household members (houses), medical expenses are a proportion of the household’s income. If it was over 40% (medical care), if it was less than a high school diploma (education), it was considered poor. For depression, the ‘CES-D’ containing 11 questions was used.
The researchers examined the effect of public and private transfers in the transition from poverty to depression, and found that only the basic pension and basic security benefits alleviated the depression among public transfers. When receiving basic pension or basic security benefits, depression was less than when not receiving it, in cases where there was a risk of poverty and in cases where there was no risk of poverty. Basic pension and guaranteed basic benefits are representative cash benefits provided by the government.
On the other hand, the reduction in the number of national pension recipients was higher than those who did not, regardless of their poverty. It is analyzed that the insufficient level of benefits is the reason why the national pension did not have an effect on reducing depression.
Having private insurance or family support did not appear to be effective in reducing depression caused by poverty. Depression in those receiving family support was higher than in those without support, regardless of the risk of poverty. The paper analyzed, “This suggests that private relocation of a family can cause economic stress, so even if it helps the standard of living somewhat in economic terms, it is likely to have a negative effect on mental attitudes.”
The paper said, “Economic instability in old age is a social-level problem that cannot be solved with an individual-level approach,” and “Efforts should be made to develop and implement policies to reduce extreme elderly poverty in Korea, which is outrageous. high compared to other developed welfare countries.” “He emphasized.
Reporter Seulgi Yoon email@example.com