Seoul: The youth suicide rate in South Korea increased in 2021 amid the Covid-19 pandemic to remain as their No. 1 cause of death, in yet another sign of a chronic problem that has plagued the country for years, data showed on Tuesday.
The suicide rate per 100,000 people aged 17 and below reached 2.7 in 2021, up from 2.5 a year earlier, revealed the latest report by Statistics Korea showed.
The rate for the age group from 15 to 17 reached 9.5, slightly down from 9.9 tallied in 2020, the data showed. In contrast, suicides among those aged 12 to 14 shot up 1.8 on-year to reach five in 2021, reports Yonhap News Agency.
The rate for the age group from 15 to 17, meanwhile, earlier soared on-year to 9.9 in 2020, compared to 8.3 tallied in 2019.
The data also showed that 6.5 per cent of children aged from 1 to 9 years old suffered nutritional deficiency in 2020, when schools were closed due to the pandemic, sharply up from 3.4 per cent tallied in 2019.
The nutritional deficiency among those aged 10 to 18 also reached 23.4 per cent in 2020, jumping from 16.7 per cent posted a year earlier.
More South Korean students, meanwhile, were attending cram schools or other after-school education programs, with the participation rate reaching 75.5 per cent in 2021, up from 67.1 per cent posted in 2020.
For elementary school students, the rate reached 82 per cent.
The number of youth aged 17 and below, meanwhile, accounted for 14.1 per cent of the total population in 2022 by reaching 7.25 million, down from 14.8 per cent tallied in 2020, the data showed.
The agency said the age group is anticipated to take up only 10.2 per cent of the population in 2040, marking a drastic decrease from 25.7 per cent posted in 2000.