The standard of living and social conditions
have improved radically for most South Koreans from the
1960s onwards. The development was temporarily broken
when the country was included in the great Asian
financial crisis of 1997-1998. Deeply shaken South Korea
and many living conditions deteriorated as industrial
giants dismissed employees in large numbers.
Those who lost their jobs also lost the social
security associated with the employer: most of the
health insurance, cheap housing, subsidized school fees,
discounted purchases and more.
Countryaah Official Site:
Official statistics for population in South Korea, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
Since the turn of the millennium, living standards
have again risen significantly. However, according to
the cooperative organization OECD, the income gaps have
widened between employees in large companies and other
groups in the labor market.
Health care has improved significantly in recent
decades. The health insurance system from 1989, like the
pensions, covers almost all citizens. Some groups, such
as civil servants, military, and teachers, have better
social benefits from the state than the general
conditions of all South Koreans.
Korean society is traditionally hierarchical,
strongly influenced by Chinese wisdom doctrine
Confucianism. Duty, loyalty and honor are emphasized, as
is education and obedience to the authorities.
Humiliation is a characteristic feature of Koreans.
Respect for parents and ancestors is most important of
virtues, and woman is subordinate to man.
Family names, wealth and social contacts have been
crucial to success, but nowadays study background is of
great importance for advancement in South Korean
Industrialization and urbanization changed the
hierarchies and created a new power elite, the
industrial class. A new middle class emerged consisting
of officials and academics, at the same time as workers
increased in numbers and developed martial-arts trade
Family, family and clan are at the heart of Korean
culture. Obligations towards the family are overriding
other duties. The father is the head of the family and
the eldest son has special responsibility. In modern
cities, traditional family values have weakened and
three generations have become two in households.
The woman's position has partly improved, but she is
often responsible for homes, children and older
relatives, even if she works for work.
Arranged marriages in cities have usually been
replaced by love marriage and professional contact.
Nowadays women also have the right to divorce, but
economic and social discrimination makes it more
difficult for them. Young women have borne much of the
industry's success. Now more and more women are getting
higher education, but many leave the profession when
they get married. Female submissiveness in the public is
often switched to leadership roles in the home, where
women often control the family finances.
Traditionally, the eldest son received most of the
inheritance due to duties towards aging parents. Now the
law gives equal inheritance rights between sons and
In the past, infants were carried on the mother's
back, and they are still given close attention by
parents. Traditional gender roles are encouraged, men
are made more dependent on their parents and women
become more independent. A lot of resources are invested
in children's education.
Confucian family views only accept heterosexuality.
Some openness prevails today, but a general resistance
to homosexuality remains.
FACTS - SOCIAL CONDITIONS
3 per 1000 births (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean
99.6 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to
100.0 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a
percentage of GDP
7.4 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person
US $ 2,044 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament
17 percent (2018)
Four dead in North Korean attack
November 23 - Two Marines and two South Korean
civilians are killed in an attack by North Korean
artillery against South Korean island of Yeonpyeong.
A few days later, demonstrations are held in Seoul as
a protest against the government's inaction against
Kim Hwang-Sik new Prime Minister
Parliament elects Kim Hwang-Sik as new prime minister
The ruling party loses votes
The GNP government party suffers severe losses in
local and regional elections.
North Korea was behind the attack
An international investigation revealed in May that
it was a North Korean submarine attack that caused
Cheonan's loss. South Korea stops all trade with North
Korea, while North Korea interrupts diplomatic