Average monthly income of single-person household in South Korea in the third quarter dropped at its fastest pace in four years due to the country’s rapidly aging population, data showed.
According to data released by the Statistics Korea on Tuesday, single-person household in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, 2017 earned 1,677,000 won ($1,539) a month on average, down 3.51 percent from the same period last year. It is the largest year-on-year fall since the fourth quarter 2013 with a 3.54 percent decline.
Single-person household monthly income has contracted for four quarters in a row since the third quarter 2016 when it registered a 1.97 percent on-year drop. It is the first time for one-person household income to decline for four consecutive quarters since 2009 when the country was shaken by the 2008 global financial crisis.
The on-year fall has been also accelerating, marking a 1.65 percent drop in the first quarter and 2.00 percent in the second quarter.
The steep decline in single-person household income is largely due to a 4.40 percent on-year plunge in salary income in the third quarter, according to data. Salary income, which takes the largest portion in household income, for one-person household had narrowed for three months straight since the first quarter this year when it sank 1.48 percent from a year earlier.
The fall in salary income of a single-person household has been mainly driven by the fast growing aging population, data showed. According to 2016 population census data, the elderly who are 70 years old or older made up the largest 17.8 percent in Korea’s single-person households while those in 30s took up 17.6 percent and those in 20s 17.2 percent.
Elderly people who are 60 years old or older comprise a significant portion of the country’s single-person households and a majority of them are low-waged workers, bringing down the average income, said a government official.
By Kim In-oh and Cho Jeehyun
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