March 20, 2015 11:24
A record 33,442 urban households packed up their belongings and headed to idyllic rural parts last year, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said Thursday. That marks a 55-percent increase compared to 2013 when 21,501 urban households moved to the countryside.
But the number of migrating households that actually moved out to farm or raise livestock for a living rose only two percent from 10,923 to 11,144 over the same period.
Statistics are based on figures compiled from November each year tallying the number of households that are newly registered in rural communities.
These households are classified into two groups -- those who register as farmers and those who start their own businesses or take up an artistic pursuit.
The number of the latter has grown particularly steeply. Last year, 3,569 households moved to Jeju Island, up a whopping 1,649 percent from 204 a year earlier, while relocating to South Jeolla Province surged 267 percent and to North Gyeongsang Province 137 percent.
"It appears that the lower cost of living and better living conditions in rural areas are prompting more and more people to move to the countryside," a ministry official said.
Another factor is the growing number of baby boomers born between 1955 and 1963 who are retiring. Some 58 percent of households who quit the city were over 50.
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