Monday, January 16, 2012

More Older People Struggle to Look After Grandchildren

A growing number of Korean children are being looked after by their grandparents because their parents are divorced.

According to a 2010 government survey, 0.4 percent or 69,175 households in the country were headed by grandparents, up 19.1 percent from 2005. Divorce and remarriage of biological parents was the major reason with 53.2 percent, followed by disappearance of biological parents with 14.7 percent.

Because most parents make no financial contribution, many grandparents struggle to make ends meet. Experts believe households headed by grandparents will become a serious structural problem in the near future as the divorce rate soars and the population ages.

These households have more problems than other low-income families. "In addition to financial difficulties, households headed by grandparents have more complex problems such as health and generational conflicts in the family," said Kim Eun-ji of the Korea Women's Development Institute. The average age of grandparents in these setups was 72.6, and that of the grandchildren they looked after 13.3. In many cases no one in the house has a job, either because they are too young or too old, so they rely on benefits from the government and charities. Read More