Family Contributions to Elder Support in Korea: Incentive, Repayment, Need and Tradition
Hye-Won Erin Kim, Duke University
Philip J. Cook, Duke University
The population of South Korea is aging rapidly, and the threat to elderly well-being from the erosion of traditional family care is of much concern. Yet relatively little is known about the actual financial status of elderly Koreans or the circumstances that influence the amount of support elderly Koreans receive from their adult children. This paper addresses these issues using data from the first wave of the Korean Longitudinal Study of Ageing. We estimate that over 60% of Koreans aged 65+ would be poor without financial transfers from their children. Elderly poverty is still mitigated substantially both by cohabitation with children and by transfers from children. The amount of support provided by adult children appears to be influenced by inheritance expectations and investment in child’s education. The traditional importance of the first son as an elder care provider remains. Parents’ financial need also has some influence.