Foreign residents’ quality of life in Seoul improves slightly from previous year; foreigners’ happiness index higher than that of Korean nationals
The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced on April 27 the results of the 2010 Seoul Survey of Social Trends, which surveyed social trends among Seoul’s residents, including single-member families, the middle classes, baby boomers, and elderly citizens.
The Seoul Survey of Social Trends has been conducted annually since 2003 to trace overall social trends in Seoul, including citizens’ quality of life and current life circumstances, residential conditions, interest and value. The findings of the survey are used as basic data for implementing the city’s administration and formulating policies.
The results of the 2010 Seoul Survey of Social Trends suggest that the average monthly income of baby boomer families was 3.91 million won, with seven out of 10 families (68.3 percent) owning homes. Also, 36.1 percent of the residents had college or higher degrees, while 25.2 percent of them were engaged in professional occupations.
The happiness index for single-member families was 60.9 points, somewhat lower than the 66.1 points recorded for families with two or more members. Single-member families were also found to participate less in volunteer activities (13.6 percent) and donation campaigns (34.3 percent) than the other groups.
Korea’s overall population data reveal that Seoul’s population of senior citizens aged 65 or higher amounted to 941,000 (9.4 percent) as of 2010, with elderly people projected to account for one in four (22.3 percent, or 2,103,000 people) of all Seoul’s residents by 2030.
According to the results of the survey conducted on 2,500 foreign residents, the quality of life among foreigners in Seoul was 6.78 points, up 0.26 points from the previous year. Their happiness index was 7.14 points, higher than that of Korean nationals at 6.59 points. The level of consumer prices, which foreign residents in Seoul felt, came at 144.2, compared with a reading of 100 concerning consumer price levels in their own countries.
Regarding the recruitment of skilled workers, a survey of businesses revealed that both domestic companies and foreign invested firms replied that it was “more difficult to find them (in 2010) than in the previous year.”
Korean companies felt a higher burden from wage costs and taxes, while foreign-invested firms felt a heavier burden from business regulations.