November 10, 2021 12:49
Koreans are very late bloomers when it comes to living apart from their parents, and many live at home all through university and beyond, but that is slowly changing.
More and more young Koreans are finding their own place to live, which contributes to the explosion of single households in the country.
According to Statistics Korea, there were 1.27 million one-person householders in their 20s last year, up a whopping 43 percent from just five years earlier compared to a 27-percent increase in all age groups.
There are many reasons why young Koreans increasingly want to live on their own. If previous generations preferred to put up with long commuting times to keep living with their parents, young people these days want to have the time to themselves. Many young people have given up saving their wages to buy a home because skyrocketing apartment prices make that unfeasible, so they invest in stocks and cryptocurrencies instead.
One 27-year-old office worker in Yongin south of Seoul is a typical case. He works in Seoul's Yongsan district, which is an hour and 30 minutes away from his parents' home, so he leased a flat in Mapo last year for W210 million (US$1=W1,176).
"I moved out because I wanted to save commuting time. Now it takes me only 20 minutes to get to work, so I have more time to myself," he said.
Many young people also want to escape their parents' constant nagging about getting married. One 29-year-old moved out of his parents' house in the affluent Gangnam district of Seoul early this year and found her own place in Hyehwa-dong in Jongno.
She visits her parents two or three times a week. "I argued a lot with my parents during lockdown last year," she says. "Initially, my parents were adamantly opposed to my moving out, but they seem to like it now because they notice the improvement in our relationship."
Lee Byung-hoon at Chungang University said, "Young people favor convenience and want to live their own lives. They don't like being forced to attend company gatherings and prefer to spend time by themselves rather than being part of a family."
The widespread availability of pre-cooked meals and door-to-door laundry services have made it easier for young people to live on their own. One 28-year-old office worker who moved out of his parents' house last year, said, "I can only cook pot noodles, which made me hesitant to move out. But there are so many pre-cooked meals and other types of food deliveries these days that I moved out without having to worry about feeding myself. I wash my clothes in a laundromat near my flat, so I didn't even have to buy a washing machine."
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