Singles Make up Nearly 1/3 of Korean Households

  • By Ahn Joong-hyeon

    August 31, 2020 12:38

    The proportion of one-person households in Korea has surpassed 30 percent for the first time.

    According to Statistics Korea, there were 6.15 million single householders as of November of 2019. Their proportion grew 0.9 percentage point on-year to account for 30.2 percent of all households.

    Korea's total population grew only 0.3 percent last year to 51.78 million. The population of Seoul and the capital region now stands at a whopping 25.89 million to account for 50 percent of the population.

    Gyeonggi Province's population increased by 200,000 as people moved out of the center and Incheon's by 20,000 while the population of Seoul proper declined by 30,000. The elderly population stood at 7.75 million to account for 15.5 percent of the total population.

    The increase in single households was due less to bereaved elderly people as to Koreans in their 20s who live alone and cannot afford or do not want to get married.

    These developments have inevitably led to lifestyle changes. For example, in 2015 singles accounted for 27.6 percent of apartment dwellers, but that rose to 31.3 percent by 2019. That explains the trend that many young singles, who used to be satisfied with cozy studios where they could save money before getting married, now want more comfortable ones.

    Spending patterns are also changing, with growing demand for ready-to-eat meals. According to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, the production of ready-to-eat meals was worth W1.89 trillion in 2015 but almost doubled to W3.52 trillion last year (US$1=W1,185).

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