The unhappiest Koreans are men in their 50s, who are often weighed down by complex obligations and encroaching age, a survey suggests.
Insurance company LINA Korea polled 480 people from their 30s to 60s in Seoul and asked them to grade five categories on a scale of one to seven. Unlike several international studies, the poll found income directly linked to quality of life. The highest possible score was 35.
Satisfaction with life tended to be high among people in their 30s at 19.35 points but dropped among those in their 40s (18.29 points) and 50s (18.24 points) only to rise again among those in their 60s (19.85 points).
Men in their 50s expressed the lowest satisfaction with their life. Women felt less burdened by raising children as they entered their 50s, but men continued to experience pressure to provide for their aged parents and families.
Satisfaction among childless people stood at 19.4 points compared to 20.3 for people with one child and 20.7 for those with three or more children. LINA Korea said the study not only suggests that people with many children can be happier, but also that happier people tend to have more children.
Contrary to other studies that suggest that money cannot buy happiness, respondents tended to be happier if they earned more money. The average score given by people who earn less than W3 million a month stood at 7.2 points, but that rose to eight points for those who make more than W7 million a month (US$=W1,140).
The average score in all categories was a paltry 18.95 out of 35 points.