Korean families evolving

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Korean families evolving

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A biennial report on Korean households’ changing perceptions about society, the economy and education showed that older people are becoming increasingly financially independent.

According to the national survey results announced by Statistics Korea on Thursday, more than half of households made up of two parents, or 50.2 percent, are financially independent of their adult children. The survey was conducted on 17,664 households from May 15 through 30.

It is the first time the percentage has surpassed 50 percent, meaning that older people are continuing their economic activities for longer.

According to the report, the economic participation rate of people older than 65 was 41.6 percent for Korean men and 23 percent for Korean women. The figure for that age group in advanced countries such as the United States and Germany was less than 20 percent.

College students who receive financial help from their parents stood at 63 percent, down from 68 percent in 2012.

The report also showed that the number of people who agree with the idea that children should take care of their aging parents is constantly falling. In this year’s survey, 31.7 percent said children should take care of their parents, down from 40.7 percent in 2008.

The percentage of households in which parents and adult children live together is also declining. The figure has been steadily dropping, from 38 percent in 2008 to 31.4 percent this year.

Parents who live with their eldest sons decreased from 20.1 percent to 14.6 percent over the same period.

The biggest reason for living separately from their parents is the locations of offices, 60.7 percent of the survey respondents said, with school locations accounting for 49.1 percent.

Korea’s marriage culture is also changing, the report showed.

About 57 percent of women said marriage is not necessary, down from 63 percent in 2008, indicating a changing view about marriage among young Koreans. About 76 percent said the current wedding ceremonies are too extravagant and 63 percent said they are open to international marriage.

Because of the deadly sinking of Sewol ferry in April, the percentage of people who consider Korea safe dropped from 13.7 percent to 9.6 percent. Worries about accidents such as collapses or explosions of buildings accounted for 51.3 percent of people’s concerns, up from 21.3 percent in 2012.

BY SONG SU-HYUN [ssh@joongang.co.kr]


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