Over 1/3 of Households Consist of Just 1 Person

  • By Kim Choong-ryung

    December 27, 2021 12:50

    Nearly one-third of Korean households now consist of just one person and 40 percent of them live in rented homes, according to the 2020 census released last Friday.

    There were 6.64 million one-person households in Korea last year, accounting for 31.7 percent of the total, up from 27.5 percent five years earlier.

    About half of the one-person households were singles, 16.1 percent divorced and 13.2 percent living apart from their spouses.

    One interesting development is that the proportion of people who only lived alone temporarily for work reasons declined, which suggests that more singles simply choose to live alone.

    People in their 20s accounted for 20.2 percent of one-person households, followed by those in their 70s (18.1 percent), 30s (16.8 percent) and 50s (15.6 percent).

    A total of 2.74 million single households or 41.2 percent rented their homes, compared to the overall proportion of 22.9 percent, while 34.3 percent owned their own homes. Home ownership across the general population was much higher at 57.3 percent, which means single householders are more vulnerable in terms of housing security.

    Only 53.3 percent of them earned their own living expenses, while 7.8 percent depended on welfare and 7.1 percent lived off interest from their financial assets, 6.6 percent off their parents and 2.8 percent off their children.

    The census also showed 20.5 percent of single householders lived alone for between one and three years, but 14.6 percent for more than 20 years, 18.9 percent for five to 10 years and 18.9 percent for 10 to 15 years. 

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