South Korea Ranks Near Bottom in Overall Life Satisfaction, Survey Finds

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A new study showed that although South Korea fared better than others in education and public safety, the world’s most wired country lagged behind most nations in overall satisfaction with life.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development released on Tuesday the latest data for their “Better Living Index” survey, which collects and analyzes nations in 11 different categories, such as income, education and health.

Korea received a collective score of 541 in education, beat out by Sweden, Japan and Finland, which ranked number one with a score of 543. South Korean students outperformed in the areas of reading literacy, math and science. Even more telling, 80 percent of adults aged 25 to 64 have a high school diploma, higher than the OECD average of 74 percent.

However, understanding the emphasis of education in South Korean society is juxtaposed by the numbers of people who work far too much and relax far too little. The nation ranked near the bottom in work-life balance, only surpassing equally overworked Japan, Mexico and Turkey.

South Korea also ranked quite low on the scale in terms of life satisfaction, ranking 26th out of 36 nations, with the average citizen giving a score of 6.0 on a scale of 0 to 10, below the OECD average of 6.6. Nonetheless, 83 percent of South Koreans surveyed said they had more positive than negative experiences on the average day.

A bright spot, however, was in the realm of safety, with only 2.1 percent of South Koreans reported falling victim to assault in the last 12-month period, compared to the OECD average of 4.0 percent. Additionally, 75 percent of South Koreans surveyed said they would feel safe walking alone at night. In contrast, however, the number of homicides in the country was slightly higher than the OECD average of 2.2, coming in at 2.6. Nonetheless, Korea ranked 6th out of 36 nations, beating out the United States.