Survey: 1.5 million Koreans are at risk of ‘dying alone’

Survey: 1.5 million Koreans are at risk of ‘dying alone’
Survey: 1.5 million Koreans are at risk of ‘dying alone’

SEOUL, May 18 (Yonhap) — A government survey showed Thursday that more than 1.5 million South Koreans are at risk of “dying alone,” or dying unattended or solitary, accounting for 3 percent of the country’s population.

The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare said it conducted the survey on a sample of 9,471 single-person households from November to December last year to check their conditions that might lead to death alone in the future.

The 10-step checklist includes questions about whether the respondent has social interaction at least once a week or has relatives or friends to ask for help in case of illness, according to the ministry.

According to the Law on the Prevention and Management of Lonely Deaths, this term refers to the phenomenon of people who have no relatives dying alone without their death being discovered for a period of time. It is also called a lonely death or an unattended death.

The ministry said the survey showed that 1.52 million people are at high risk of dying alone, accounting for 3 percent of the country’s 50 million population and 21.3 percent of the total single-person households.

Among them, people in their fifties accounted for 33.9%, followed by people in their sixties with 30.2%, and those in their forties with 25.8%. People in their 20s and 30s made up 9.7% and 16.6%, respectively.

According to a separate Health Ministry report published last year, the country recorded 3,378 such deaths in 2021, an average annual growth rate of 8.8% over the past five years.

The Department of Health said it would provide public services designed for people at risk and identify social isolation cases in advance to reduce the number of single deaths by 20% by 2027.

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