By Kim Da-ye
Korean men in their 60s in the top half of the earnings bracket are likely to live four years longer than those in the bottom, a study by the National Pension Research Institute showed Monday.
The research arm of the National Pension Service (NPS) said that a Korean man born in 1949 belonging to the upper half of the income bracket is expected to live 87.94 years, 3.96 years longer than the 83.98 years those earning less would live for.
“Individuals in the upper social class in terms of education, occupation and income not only live longer, but were also mostly active or healthy during their life,” Woo Hae-bong and Han Jung-lim of the institute said in the report.
The study also showed the life expectancy gap between the high earners and the rest has widened.
The gap for those born in 1929 was 2.32 years with the upper income bracket expected to live 82.26 years. It grew to 3.31 years for the men born in 1939, and the high earners in this age group are estimated to live 85.32 years. The gap increased to 3.96 years for those born in 1949.
Woo and Han said that the difference in life expectancy between two different social classes “significantly” affect the collection of old-age pensions.
“This research shows that a considerable portion of those with low incomes die before the age of 60, the point one can start collecting a pension, so they cannot benefit from the income security provided by the National Pension Service,” the researchers wrote.
About 60 percent of the studied 1 million subscribers of the pension service could collect pensions for having contributed to the fund longer than 10 years. Those who died before the age of 60 amounted to 8.33 percent.
Furthermore, 78 percent of those in the upper income bracket collected old age pensions while 41 percent of the other half did.
The study also found a discrepancy between men and women.
After hitting 60, men are expected to work for seven years and retire for 13 years until their death while women would work for five years and retire for 22.