End of Lockdown Frees Koreans from Loneliness

By Kim Tae-jun | March 24, 2023 12:40
The end of lockdown has lifted feelings of profound loneliness for many Koreans who were cooped up at home alone for nearly three years. But it has not brought a resurgence in the desire to get married and have children.According to Statistics Korea on Thursday, the proportion of Korean who felt lonely dwindled three percent last year to 19.2 percent. That was also a whole 10 percentage points lower than 2013, when the government began tallying such statistics.A Statistics Korea official said, "The number of people saying they feel lonely declined due to social interaction resuming again after lockdown ended last April. Growing use of social media and other communication also played a part."
People enjoy the warm weather at the Cheonggye Stream in Seoul on Thursday. /News1
Once they could go outside again, fewer people complained of weight gain. The obesity rate stood at 37.2 percent last year, down 1.2 percentage points from 2021. Smoking and drinking are also on the wane -- the rate of smoking among adults fell one percentage point to 18.2 percent, and the proportion who drink alcohol declined 1.7 percentage points to 53.5 percent.That meant people spent less time glued to their electronic devices or napping. Both resting time and use of smart devices fell by half an hour to 1.4 hours a weekday and 1.8 hours at the weekend.But if people dreamed of marriage in lockdown, they soon changed their minds again. The proportion who feel the need to marry fell from 51.2 percent in 2020 to 50 percent last year, and the proportion of Koreans who want to have children fell from 69.6 percent in 2018 to 65.3 percent last year.Among teenagers, only 41.1 percent said it is necessary to have kids when people are married, the lowest among all age groups, followed by 44 percent in their 20s and 54.7 percent in their 30s.

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