40% of Single Householders Out of Work

  • By Kim Choong-ryung

    December 09, 2021 12:56

    Some 40 percent of Koreans who live alone are not working and subsist on small incomes because they are predominantly young or elderly.

    According to Statistics Korea on Wednesday, 40.4 percent of the country's 6.64 million one-person households are out of work for one reason or another, and the demographic group earns an average income of just a third of the overall average.

    Bucheon west of Seoul is home to the largest number of singles over 50 who live alone, while Seoul's Gwanak District has the most young singles. A Bucheon city government staffer said, "There are a lot of affordable homes here and it is convenient to commute to Seoul."

    Gwanak District has a large area of crammed residences for young people who prepare for government and other job tests.

    Single households increased 8.1 percent from 6.15 million in 2019 to 6.64 million at present and now account for 31.7 percent of total households, up from 30.2 percent over the same period.

    By age group, 19.1 percent of all single householders are people in their 20s. Some 45.1 percent are women over 60, and 56.9 percent men between 30 and 50.

    The average annual income of one-person households was just W21.6 million in 2019 or a mere 36.5 percent of the average income of total households (US$1=W1,178). Eight out of 10 made less than W30 million a year.

    But their average monthly spending of W1.32 million is half the overall average of W2.4 million. They also spent an average of W950,000 a year on medical treatment, 1.4 times more than the adult average, because so many of them are elderly. They owned just W176 million in assets or 39.4 percent of the overall average. 

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