March 13, 2023 08:36
Most young Korean men want to get married and have children, but many women disagree, a large-scale survey suggests. That raises concerns that Korea's ultra-low birthrate may never recover.
The Office for Government Policy Coordination polled 15,000 people aged 19 to 34 last summer, asking them some 200 questions on various issues as an aid to policy-making. It pans to conduct the survey every two years.
Many respondents said they do want to have kids when they get married. While 79.8 percent of men and 69.7 percent of women want to get married, only 70.5 percent of men and slightly over half or 55.3 percent of women said they want children.
Respondents also said that the low birthrate and aging society will have a bigger impact on Korea's future than changes in climate conditions and technology.
An alarming 83 percent of respondents placed themselves below middle class, while only 12.2 percent felt they were in the middle or upper income bracket.
A staggering 57.5 percent were living with their parents, and almost 70 percent of them had no plans to strike out on their own. Some 56.6 percent of them said they chose to live with their parents for economic reasons. In other words, young Koreans feel poor and are reluctant to start a life of their own, suggesting they are nervous that their incomes will not cover living costs.
The proportion who had jobs stood at 67.4 percent, and their pre-tax income averaged W2.52 million a month (US$1=W1,324). But their monthly living expenses averaged W1.61 million, with W480,000 going on food, W220,000 on housing, W130,000 on insurance and W120,000 on transportation.
Their average financial assets break down into W14.15 million worth of bank deposits, W2.59 million worth of stocks, W7.6 million worth of real estate and W250,000 in cryptocurrencies.
But when asked to rate their lives on a scale of one to 10, young Koreans gave an average score of 6.7 points, which is still higher than the national average of 5.9 points.
Some 20.1 percent smoke, 34.2 percent drink alcohol two to four times a month and 54.5 percent feel healthy. Some 71.1 percent said they go outside every day, but 2.4 percent classified themselves as reclusive, mainly blaming unemployment and a lack of friends.
Around five percent admitted they had taken antidepressants or other drugs to treat mental health issues.
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