The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says that 45 percent of the elderly in South Korea are below the poverty line. The average for a nation in this organization is 13 percent.
The United Press International reports that societal changes may be to blame.
Experts say the change in South Korean society -- from traditional households in which several generations lived together -- is responsible for the large number of elderly poor. Yoo Kyung-joon, a researcher at the Korea Development Institute, said more elderly now live on their own with little help from their children or the government.
"There still aren't many people benefiting from the national pension system as the program is still in its early stages," he said.