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Claire Lee
Saturday, Sep 27, 2014

Asia

Single, 2-person households on the rise in S. Korea

The Korea Herald/ANN | Claire Lee | Saturday, Sep 27, 2014

The number of single and two-person households has increased dramatically in South Korea over the last 20 years, according to a study conducted by a state-run research institute.

According to the report by Kim Yoo-kyung at the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs, almost half - 48.2 per cent - of all Korean households in 2010 consisted of one or two people.

That contrasts with just 22.8 per cent of households in 1990.

Meanwhile, the percentage of larger households has dropped from 77.3 per cent in 1990 to 51.9 in 2010.

The country's low birthrate, its higher divorce rate and the rising number of young people who put off marriage and childbearing are some of the main factors behind the shift, the report said.

According to Statistics Korea, the number of Koreans who think 'one must have children' has decreased to 46.3 per cent in 2012 from 73.7 per cent in 1997.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government earlier this year predicted that more than 60 per cent of Seoul households would comprise one or two people, including single-parent families, by 2035.

Last year, they already made up 49.9 per cent of families living in the nation's capital.

However, it is not only young people who choose to live alone or not have children. More elderly individuals are also living alone and many live separately from their children, according to Lee Sook-jin, the president of the Seoul Foundation of Women and Family.

The number of single fathers has also been on the rise in Seoul, she said.

According to Statistics Korea, more Koreans think that it is not someone's responsibility to support their aging parents financially.

In 1998, almost 90 per cent of the country's population thought family members must take care of and support their aging parents, but only 33.2 per cent of the population thought the same way in 2012.

In July, KIHASA announced that half of South Korea's total population would be 65 or older by 2100, if the country maintains the current birthrate of 1.19 children per woman. Last month, a government projection showed that South Koreans could go extinct by 2750 due to the low fertility rate.

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