Households in the bottom 20% (1st quintile) of income were found to have the heaviest cost of living burden in the first quarter, including midwinter.

In particular, the cost of heating and electricity due to the recent cold wave has increased, and the living standards of ordinary people are expected to become more difficult in the first quarter of this year.

According to the National Statistical Office's household trend survey, as of the first quarter of 2019-2021, when statistics were reorganized as now, the essential cost of living in the first quintile of income accounted for 92.8% of average disposable income.

In the first quarter of 2019, essential living expenses were 615,518 won per month on average, which was 94.6% of disposable income (650,458 won).

In Q1 2020, 92.6% of disposable income and 91.3% in Q1 2021 were essential subsistence expenses.

In other words, after subtracting non-consumption expenses such as taxes, insurance premiums, and interest from income, most of the remaining amount was spent on essential livelihood expenses.

Essential living expenses include food, non-alcoholic beverages, housing, water, light heat, transportation, and eating out.

The average share of essential living expenses in Q1 was much larger than in Q2 (76.4%), Q3 (80.7%), and Q4 (81.6%).

Last year, the ratio of essential living expenses to disposable income for the first quintile was 83.2% in the first quarter, higher than the second quarter (75.9%) or third quarter (78.7%).

In the first quarter, which includes the winter season, fuel costs such as heating costs increase, which is interpreted as increasing the burden of living expenses.

In the first quarter of 2019 to 2021, the average monthly fuel cost spent by households in the first quintile for heating, cooling, and cooking was 89,787 won, which was 51,498 won in the second quarter or 36,264 won in the third quarter. , up to twice as much as in the fourth quarter (54,796 won).

On the other hand, the average monthly disposable income in the first quarter (676,794 won) was less than in other quarters such as the second quarter (814,376 won).

It is estimated that the effect of reduced earned income and business income is due to the low season for farmhouses in the winter and fewer jobs in the construction industry or government-led jobs than at other times.

In particular, in the first quarter of this year, the livelihood burden of the vulnerable is expected to increase further.

This is because the use of heating is increasing due to the recent unusually cold wave amidst the full-fledged winter season after gas rates were raised several times last year.

In addition, electricity rates in the first quarter of this year increased by 13.1 won per kWh (kilowatt hour), the largest increase since 1981.

As a result, the cost of auxiliary heating devices such as electric heaters, hot air heaters, and electric pads is also expected to rise.

Taxi fares, water and sewerage charges, and the price of volume-rate garbage bags are expected to increase in other public charges that are closely related to people's lives.

For 1.176 million households, the government temporarily doubled the amount of energy vouchers (usage vouchers) this winter from 152,000 won to 304,000 won, and offered gas discounts for 1.6 million households subject to social consideration. We are preparing measures to protect the vulnerable, such as doubling the previous number.

In addition, as part of the direct job creation project, we plan to start early hiring of more than 590,000 people within this month and provide livelihood support.

(Photo = Yonhap News)