President's Message

Leading the way in improving
people's quality of life and social security

Welcome to the website of the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs.

Over the past fifty years, the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs (KIHASA) has established itself as a top think tank in not just health and welfare policies, but social policy in general.

Since the 1997 Asian economic crisis, national attention has turned to an increasing extent to the importance of health and social welfare policies, setting Korea in earnest about on the path to a welfare state. Of late we saw, after much-heated debate, a new child allowance program implemented to complement Korea’s social welfare system. However, Korea has yet to move out completely of its old paradigm of growthism and minimalist social policy, and its welfare state seems meager when put beside the welfare states the West has created over the course of more than one hundred years.

In 2019, Korea became the 7th country to have a population of over 50 million and a per capita GNI of over 30,000 dollars. An economic powerhouse though Korea may be, a residue of social inequality and precariousness lingers in the shadows of our society, and the quality of life and happiness measures remain significantly lower for Koreans than for those living in countries with a highly-developed welfare state.

One of the important things we have learned from the covid-19 crisis is that we must get ourselves well prepared for crises of all sorts—climate change, labor crisis, regional decline, and demographic decline—that may well unfold on an untold scale in the years to come.

The Korean people, with their characteristic resilience, will manage, as in the past, to pull through one adversity after another now and in the future. We on our part at KIHASA will keep ourselves committed to living our mission, thinking out policy solutions and, with our analysis and research findings, further clearing the ground for the development of a social welfare system that squares well with the Korean context.

We welcome your feedback and comments on what we do. I invite you to walk with us on our path toward a more livable Korea, toward making life happier for all.

Lee, Tae Soo
President, KIHASA