South Korea ranks 4th in relative poverty among OECD nations

South Korea ranks fourth in relative poverty among major economies in the world, data showed on Monday, in a sign of its high income inequality.

The country's relative poverty rate, referring to the percentage of people with an income below 50 per cent of the median income, came to 16.7 per cent in 2018-19, according to the data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

It is the fourth-highest rate among 37 member countries of the Paris-based club of rich nations, reports Yonhap News Agency.

South Korea's figure is 5.6 percentage points higher than the OECD average of 11.1 per cent.

Costa Rica has the highest relative poverty rate of 20.5 per cent, followed by the US with 17.8 per cent and Israel with 16.9 per cent.

Comparable figures are 15.7 per cent for Japan, 12.4 per cent for the UK, 11.6 per cent for Canada, 8.5 per cent for France and 6.1 per cent for Denmark.

Meanwhile, the poverty rate among South Koreans aged 65 and older stood at 43.4 per cent in 2018, the highest among OECD members and about three times the OECD average.

Asia's fourth-largest economy became an aged society in 2017, when the proportion of those aged over 65 years reached over 14 percent of its entire population.

The number is projected to reach 10.51 million in 2025, or 20.3 per cent of the total population, putting the country on the threshold of a super-aged society where at least 21 per cent of its people are 65 and older.

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