S. Koreans’ ratio of public contributions to GDP surpasses 25 pct in 2015

South Korea's ratio of public contributions including taxes and pension premiums to the gross domestic product (GDP) surpassed 25 percent for the first time last year on a steady rise in welfare costs, an international report showed Sunday.

The so-called national burden ratio reached 25.3 percent as of end-2015, up 0.7 percentage point from the previous year's 24.6 percent, according to the Revenue Statistics 2016 report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

National burden refers to taxes, payments to the country's public pension, health insurance premiums and other social security contributions.

It is the first time that the figure topped the 25 percent level, 15 years after it topped the 20-percent mark in 2000. But the number has been stagnant at around the 24 percent level since 2007 when it hit 24.8 percent.

Among the OECD member countries, on the other hand, South Korea's national burden ratio ranks fourth from the bottom, followed by Ireland with 23.6 percent, Chile with 20.7 percent and Mexico at 17.4 percent.

Denmark has the highest ratio of 46.6 percent and France and Belgium come in next with 45.5 percent and 44.8 percent, respectively, while the average ratio of 35 member countries reached 34.3 percent.

Experts noted that South Korea's national burden ratio is still low compared to other OECD members but it will rise sharply in the coming years as the government will increase its spending on welfare and social security to deal with the rapid aging of the population and low birth rate.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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