Korea ranked 47th in terms of quality of life, falling seven notches from the previous year. While it is advanced in terms of R&D and science and technology, the indexes related with labor were especially poor.
The Institute for International Trade under the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) released “2016 Korea in the World,” Friday, which compiles around 170 economic, trade and social indexes to show where Korea stands in the world.
Korea scored 4.95 out of 10 in terms of quality of life, ranking 47th. This means Korea, which is the world’s 32nd-richest country in terms of per capita GDP, is falling behind in terms of quality of life. The country’s per capita GDP was $27,195 last year.
Korea’s quality of life ranking was lower than China’s which ranked 45th scoring 5.26. Switzerland enjoyed the highest quality of life, while the United States ranked 18th and Japan 20th.
Behind the poor quality of life were intensive labor and low economic growth.
Koreans worked 2,113 hours on average in 2015, the third-longest in the world. The economic growth rate, meanwhile, stood at a mere 2.6 percent, ranking 104th. While Koreans work long hours, the economy is not picking up as much as it should.
There is also some distortion in the job market. The ratio of NEET (not in education, employment or training) or idle young people who are neither in school nor at work stood at 18 percent in 2015, which is the 15th highest in the world. Women’s employment rate stood at 55 percent, or 32nd in the world.
The fertility rate, or the number of babies born per woman, marked 1.26, one of the world’s lowest, ranking at 166th.
Korea’s sovereign image ranked at 16th, down one notch from a year ago, while national competitiveness fell four notches to 29th. It ranked 43rd in terms of transparency, down three notches from a year ago.
Meanwhile, Korea ranked relatively high in terms of technology and R&D.
The IT powerhouse ranked top in the world in terms of ICT development as well as the speed of internet services.
Per capita R&D investment recorded $1,200.4 as of 2014, which is the 14th highest in the world.
It was also a major global trading country, ranking sixth with $963 billion total trade in 2015. Its trade account recorded a $90 billion surplus, the fourth largest in the world.
It also showed that Koreans spent $25 billion on travel, the eighth highest in the world, but Korea’s income from tourists totaled only $15.3 billion, ranking 22nd.