SEOUL — Poverty among the elderly has been blamed for the growing rate of suicides among senior citizens in South Korea's capital, where 50 seniors took their own lives last year. According to the Korea Labor Institute, 48.6% of the country's elderly were living in poverty last year, the Korea Herald reports.
The highest suicide rate was among those living in Jungnang District, one of Seoul's poorest, with a suicide rate of 35.7 per 100,000 people. Meanwhile, residents in one of the city's richest area, Seocho District, saw only 15.3 suicides per 100,000 people last year. Seoul citizens aged 60 or older had the highest suicide rates.
Experts have also pointed out that the elderly who commit suicide fall primarily into two groups: those who don't want to burden their children with financial issues and those who grow estranged from their families as they get older.
According to Statistics Korea, the overall suicide rate in Seoul stood at 24.7 — meaning 24.7 Seoul residents in 100,000 committed suicide last year — which the OECD notes is one of the highest suicide rates among its 34 member countries.