Single Households to Become the Norm in 2030

      May 09, 2015 08:16

      The number of one-person households is expected to surpass the number of households consisting of a couple and their children to become the most common structure in Korea.

      The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced census figures that show the number of single households rising from 502,000 in 2000 or 16.3 percent of all households to 982,000 this year or 27 percent.

      In 2030, one-person households will account for 30.1 percent.

      Nuclear families also dwindled from 49.8 percent in 2000 to 33.6 percent at present. The figure is forecast to further fall to 25.4 percent by 2030.

      The average number of people per household is also declining. In 2000, 32.1 percent of households consisted of four people, followed by three (21.7 percent), two (17 percent) and one (16.3 percent).

      But currently one-person households account for 27 percent of all households, followed by two-person households (24.7 percent), three-person households (22.7 percent) and four-person households (19.6 percent). The trend is expected to continue until 2030.

      The reasons are that a growing number of people get married later in life, more get divorced, society is aging and the birthrate is low.

      Another contributing factor is that more and more senior citizens live alone. Senior citizens account for 24.1 percent of single households now compared to 17.9 percent in 2000.

      By 2030, senior citizens will account for 38.1 percent of single households.

      A growing number of older people refuse to live with their grown-up children. According to a study by Statistics Korea in 2013, 54.8 percent of people over 60 lived separately from their children. The number of senior citizens who said they do not want to live with their children rose from 49.3 percent in 2002 to 71.4 percent in 2013. More and more older people want to enjoy their freedom.

      The trend has prompted calls for more government support for senior citizens living alone.

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