TitleThe association between poverty indicators and material hardship in South Korea
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsWeon, S, Rothwell, D
JournalInternational Journal of Social Welfare
Date Published10/2019

The construct of material hardship has been introduced to broaden the understanding of living conditions beyond household income. However, much remains unclear about how much variation in material hardship can be explained by income and other economic indicators such as asset holdings. To get advance knowledge on these related but distinct relationships, using the Korean Welfare Panel Study we tested the association between material hardship and three poverty indicators (joint income‐asset, asset‐only, and income‐only). For income poverty and asset poverty, we found a statistically significant association between a household’s poverty condition and material hardship. The joint income‐asset poor were most likely to experience hardship (with respect to food, utility, and health). In addition, householders who rented rather than owned their own home, and householders whose heads were younger, single, less‐educated, and only temporarily employed suffered more hardship than their counterparts. Future longitudinal research that identifies the casual relationships between poverty and hardship is needed. Key Practitioner Message: •Considering only overall hardship may mask within‐group differences in living conditions; thus, practitioners may gain greater insight into client populations by assessing various types of hardships such as food, utility, and health; •Because the asset‐only poor suffer from hardship despite their above‐poverty‐level income, the asset poverty‐related programs should be more responsive to the problems of the asset poor; •Based on our findings showing that the income‐only poor, especially the relatively older age group, suffers from difficulties in cash flow despite their high homeownership rate, policies are needed to help older homeowners leverage their home equity or other real estate to alleviate their financial difficulties.

Short TitleInt J Soc Welfare