Volunteering Among Older People in Korea

Volunteering Among Older People in Korea
Technical paper

Volunteering Among Older People in Korea

Jibum Kim Jeong-han Kang Min-Ah Lee and Yongmo Lee
Asia and the Pacific
Republic of Korea
Enabling Environment for Volunteering

Fast read

  • This study identifies the factors associated with elderly volunteering in Korea.
  • The data was taken from the social statistics survey conducted by the Korea National Statistical Office in 1999 and 2003.
  • The authors compared volunteer rates in Korea to those in the United States.


The results show that around 6 per cent of Koreans 65 years of age or older participate in volunteering programmes, a much lower percentage than the same age group in the United States. All human capital variables were positively related to volunteering, which is consistent with similar findings from the United States. For example, elderly people who are better educated, healthier and live in a household owned by a relative were found to be more likely to volunteer. Regarding cultural capital, those who identified as Buddhist or Catholic are more likely to volunteer than individuals with no religious affiliation. Regarding social capital, elderly people who live alone or only with their spouse were more likely to volunteer than those living with both a spouse and children.

This study provides useful insights and recommendations for governments and policymakers to broaden spaces for volunteering in Korea in which elderly people are effectively engaged.