South Korea's level of national debt is lower than other major economies, but its pace of increase over the past 10 years is a source of concern, finance and budget officials said Sunday. An estimate based on the 2014 budget puts the year's government debt at 514.8 trillion won (US$487.96 billion), up 50.1 trillion won from 2013. The projected ratio of debt to gross domestic product is 36.4%, well below the 108.8% average of member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) from 2012, but the pace of its rise has quickened in recent years, officials said. Between 2000 and 2012, South Korean debt increased an average of 12.3% per year, higher than Southern European nations suffering from fiscal crisis including Spain, Greece and Italy. For 2008-14, the annual increase measured 8.9%. South Korea ranked seventh in terms of its debt increase among the 34 OECD nations. The rise in non-asset based debts is also alarming, surpassing half of the total debt last year for the first time at 245.4 trillion won. These kinds of debts fall directly on the taxpayers. The government put the debt-to-GDP ratio at 35.6% for 2017, hoping to bring it down from the current level to maintain fiscal soundness. But economy watchers say expenditure demands from health care and other social welfare programs are bound to spike, squeezing the budget.