Korea’s ‘kangaroo tribe’ gets larger

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Korea’s ‘kangaroo tribe’ gets larger


Many Koreans in their 20s to 40s identify themselves as “kangaroo tribesmen,” a term for people who depend on their parents either financially or emotionally or both.

According to a survey conducted by Jobkorea, nearly 40 percent of 3,574 respondents said they were kangaroo tribesmen. About 70 percent of that group said they were still getting financial help from their parents.

Nearly 16 percent said they “felt more peaceful after getting feedback from parents when making major decisions.” Around 15 percent responded they were “neither financially nor emotionally independent” from parents.

The reasons for remaining dependent on parents included the high cost of housing (65 percent) and of living in general (64 percent). Nearly 21 percent said they “felt happier and comfortable living with parents,” while nearly 21 percent responded that they “did not have the courage to be independent.” Multiple answers were allowed.


Close to 15 percent said they “did not feel the need to live independently.”

In terms of demographics, 42 percent of female respondents said they identified themselves as a kangaroo tribesmen, compared to 31 percent of male respondents.

In terms of age, nearly 44 percent of people in their 20s said they were dependent on parents, while close to 34 percent of respondents in their 30s said so. The affirmative response rate in the 40s age group was 18 percent.

Despite the relatively large numbers, the general perception of dependent kangaroo tribesmen was negative, the survey showed.

Respondents said kangaroo tribesmen who are financially dependent on their parents seemed “incompetent” (54 percent), “irresponsible” (40 percent) and “lacking in goals” (40 percent).

But close to 18 percent also said they seemed “like part of a happy family,” “wise” (14.4 percent), “economically sensible” (12.5 percent) and “enviable” (12 percent).

When asked about kangaroo tribesmen who are emotionally dependent on parents, they said those persons seemed “immature” (65.4 percent), unstable (45 percent) and incompetent (43.7 percent). Close to 26 percent said they felt pity for them. Multiple answers were allowed in this section.

When asked how long one can remain dependent on parents, 43.2 percent responded “until getting married,” 22.3 percent said “until getting a job” and 11.1 percent said “until graduating from college.”

More than 10 percent responded, “as long as you can.”

BY PARK JUNG-YOUN [park.jungyoun@joongang.co.kr]
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