Amid the persistence of low birthrates despite the increased support for households with young children, there is currently a need to identify the true nature of the economic difficulties faced by such households, as well as for a more broad-based approach to considering why the government support policies have failed to be actually effective.
By consolidating the factual studies of three research projects with similar or overlapping (and thus mergeable) topics and questionnaire items, this study represents an experimental challenge in terms of research methodology. It represents Wave 1 in a continuous 5-year study, and largely comprises a survey - the ‘KICCE Spending Survey’ and a research project – the study on the childrearing costs of households with young children. Meanwhile, the ‘KICCE Spending Survey’ is shared by the following three research projects, each of which is structured independently in terms of research with the exception of the ‘KICCE Spending Survey’:
∙ Research Project 1 (the current project): ‘A Spending Survey of Households with Young Children – the KICCE Spending Survey and a Study on childrearing Costs (I)’
∙ Research Project 2: The Demand for Childcare Services among Households with Young Children and Policy Responses
∙ Research Project 3: A Study of the KICCE childrearing Price Index
First, a brief summary of the findings from Part I of the study – the ‘KICCE Spending Survey’ – is as follows. The ‘KICCE Spending Survey’ (as of Wave 1) is a survey that integrates the factual surveys from three different research projects, and is conducted in two rounds consisting of a main survey and an online survey. The target sample includes all young children in 1,625 households with at least one young(preschool) child. If school-age or older children are present within a household, their expenditure is included in the household-level survey but no separate individual-level surveys are administered to them. From Wave 2 onwards, enumeration districts will be incorporated into a panel, such that the original sample households residing within those enumeration districts will be tracked for continuous future surveying. This survey was conducted via face-to-face interviews by interviewers using the TAPI (Tablet Assisted Personal Interviewing) tool at the respondent household.
The questionnaire of the main study largely comprises the household-level questionnaire and the individual child-level questionnaire. The household questionnaire includes items on general household characteristics, economic activity and childrearing costs, preference regarding childcare services and willingness to use the, views on policy support measures for households with young children, views and needs regarding policies on childcare services for households with young children, propensity for childrearing spending, and the socioeconomic values and future outlook among households with young children. The questionnaire for childrearing spending within the main survey distinguishes between household-level expenditure and expenditure per each child, and includes 13 categories (e.g. food, etc.) and 11 sub-items. The online survey included questions on the purchase of childrearing goods and spending habits, perceived price levels of childrearing goods, in addition to perceived state of the economy and future outlook.
Upon conclusion of the survey, responses were collected from a total of 1,648 households and 2,277 young children. Looking at the household / respondent characteristics in comparison with the Household Income and Expenditure Survey (Statistics Korea) reveals that the sample has been collected evenly, with no substantial departures between studies. However, this sample’s study had a somewhat larger number of two-earner households compared to the Household Income and Expenditure Survey.
Next, a brief summary of the findings regarding the childrearing spending of households with young children from Part II of the study is as follows. The average monthly living expenses of households with young children is 3,119,000 KRW, with ‘food expenses’ taking up the largest share at 811,000 KRW followed by ‘education / childcare’ costs (410,000 KRW), ‘insurance contributions’ (363,000 KRW), ‘leisure / cultural activities’ (323,000 KRW), ‘transportation costs’ (264,000 KRW), and ‘housing costs’ (253,000 KRW). The total childrearing cost was 1,151,000 KRW, with the childrearing cost for young children being 919,000 KRW (660,000 KRW on a per-child basis). While an increase from one young child to two young children was associated with a rise in childrearing costs, an increase from two young children to three was not associated with substantial changes in cost. The per-child care costs for young children tended to increase as the child got older.
Meanwhile, the responses of households with young children regarding their current level of spending on childrearing were mostly evenly split into ‘sufficient’ (48.9%) and ‘insufficient’ (42.1%). Of the items that were most burdensome in terms of childrearing costs, the foremost factor by far was ‘education / childcare costs’ (44.6%), followed by ‘food expenses’ (17.7%). However, it is somewhat ironic that households responded that they were most willing to increase spending on ‘education / childcare’ if more income were to become available to them. 91.1% of households responded that they saw increases in overall household spending following childbirth, with 52.7% responding that major adjustments had been made in the composition of spending items and 41.7% responding that there were minor adjustments. The spending item that saw the greatest increase following childbirth was ‘education / childcare’ followed by ‘food expenses’. In contrast, the spending items that saw the greatest decrease following childbirth (in households that had not responded ‘no cuts in spending items’) were ‘leisure / cultural activities’ and ‘personal maintenance costs’.
Based on the above findings, in this study we proposed the following measures. First, with regards to the ‘KICCE Spending Survey’, there is a need to maintain the enumeration districts and household panels to ensure stability in the data. Other necessary items that were emphasized include: a tracking study on the transition to primary school, diversification of interview tools to enhance respondent convenience, expanding the sample to secure representativeness for households with young children, clearly delineating between the survey study and the research project, and implementing data cleaning for making the data open to the public.
Next, regarding the alleviation of childrearing costs for young children, we proposed measures such as: protecting the child rights of at-risk young children and the closing of gaps, strengthening support for two-earner households and multi-child households, enhancing the service quality of public education / childcare services and diversification of support measures, expanding various housing support measures and creating child-friendly residential environments, improving public rental services while strengthening government support and public / private cooperation for the upcycling of childcare goods, strengthening efforts to promote policies and raising awareness thereof, and providing more education / training to parents to help guide their perceptions and spending practices.
Table Of Contents
Ⅱ. 연구의 배경
PART Ⅰ. KICCE 소비실태조사
Ⅲ. KICCE 소비실태조사 개요
PART Ⅱ. 영유아 가구 양육비용 실태
Ⅳ. 영유아 가구의 양육비용 지출 실태
Ⅴ. 영유아 가구의 주거 및 육아용품관련 소비 행태
Ⅵ. 양육비용 관련 정책에 대한의견 및 미래 전망
Ⅶ. 결론 및 정책 제언