The Korea Herald


Breadwinners in their 60s or above double in 9 years

By No Kyung-min

Published : Sept. 26, 2023 - 13:15

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A man looks at a job application form at a job fair in Seoul on June 21, 2022. (Newsis) A man looks at a job application form at a job fair in Seoul on June 21, 2022. (Newsis)

More than one million Koreans aged over 60 are primary household earners, despite their age falling within the typical retirement phase, data showed Tuesday.

According to National Health Insurance data that Rep. Kim Sang-hoon of the ruling People Power Party received from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the number of Korean household breadwinners aged over 60 stood at 1.05 million last year, more than double the figure of 503,840 recorded in 2013.

Among individuals with dependents on their employer-sponsored health insurance plans, the proportion of people aged 60 or above went up from 6.1 percent to 12.7 percent during the same period.

The number of people dependent on family breadwinners in their 60s or older surged by 87 percent, from 750,447 in 2013 to 1.4 million last year.

On the contrary, the number of people in their 20s and 30s with dependents in their employer-sponsored health insurance plan fell nearly 40 percent from 3.07 million in 2013 to 1.86 million last year. Individuals in their 20s decreased by 58.1 percent, while those in their 30s dropped by 34.4 percent.

The number of dependents relying on breadwinners in their 20s and 30s also decreased by 52 percent to 3.53 million during the same period.

Analyzing the data, Rep. Kim pointed to the delayed labor force participation of younger generations, combined with the postponed retirement of older generations.

Korea is "at a juncture in which comprehensive measures across all generations must be implemented to ensure labor force participation and stable incomes,” he said.