05/02/2015, 00.00
SOUTH KOREA
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Korea, suicide leading cause of death for young people aged 9 to 24 years

Suicide tops list for first time ever. Academic competition, excessive stress and absence of parents push the young to take their own lives. Second place goes to traffic accidents and third place to cancer. Main causes of suicide include academic pressure and economic stress. In 2060 only 11% of the Koreans will be under 24 years of age.

Seoul (AsiaNews) - Suicide is the leading cause of death among young people in South Korea. According to the report by Statistics Korea, in 2013 out of about 100 thousand people between 9 and 24 years of age 7.8 died from suicide. In 2003, the number was 7.4. Traffic accidents came in second place with 4.4, while cancer took third (3.1).

The situation has changed from a decade ago, when traffic accidents were in first place with 9.6 and suicides were second.

The national rate of people who take their own lives in Korea has been increasing more or less constantly since the early 1990s. It peaked in 1998 before falling slightly. Since 2000 it has started to rise again.

On a positive note the number of teenagers who have considered suicide in 2014 was "only" 7.9%, down from 11.2% in 2012. Many of them have stated that school pressure, anxiety over grades, combined with economic pressures (the Korean education is very expensive) is what pushes them to have suicidal thoughts.

Healthwise, statistics show that 61.4% of young people between 13 and 24 years suffered from chronic stress in 2014. Even here the causes are mostly school and work pressures. Moreover, the report by Statistics Korea shows that 9.2% of teenagers of middle and secondary smoke school, while 16.7% drink alcohol.

In Korea in 2013 the population group aged between 9 and 24 years accounted for 19% of the total. It is the lowest figure since these statistics are available, that is, since 1970, when young people counted for 35% of the population. At this rate, by 2060 the index be down to just 11.4%. This severe decline is due to the decrease in marriages and the low birth rate that the country has suffered for years. 56.8% of young people under 24 years claimed they would prefer to live alone and not get married.

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