Over 3,300 people die ‘lonely deaths’ last year: report

SEOUL– Over 3,300 people died “lonely deaths” in South Korea last year, a government report said Wednesday.

Lonely death refers to a phenomenon of people with no relatives dying alone and remaining undiscovered for a long period of time. It’s also called solitary or unattended death.

According to the report released by the welfare ministry, there were 3,378 lonely deaths nationwide in 2021, up from 3,279 in 2020, 2,949 in 2019, 3,048 in 2018 and 2,412 in 2017.

The number of lonely deaths has grown at an average annual rate of 8.8 percent over the past five years, it said, adding they accounted for 1.1 percent of all 317,680 deaths last year.

The report said the number of lonely deaths has been on the steady rise due to various factors, such as economic problems, isolation from society and an increase in single-person households.

Last year, single-person households increased by 7.9 percent to account for 33.4 percent of all households.

By gender, the number of lonely deaths in men (2,817) was 5.3 times that of women (529) last year.

By age, people in their 50s and 60s accounted for 50 to 60 percent of the entire lonely deaths over the past five years, the report said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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