Yangpyeong housing helps boost population

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Yangpyeong housing helps boost population

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Shin Young-hee, vice-principal of Gaegun Elementary School, second from left, and Kim Seon-kyo, head of Yangpyeong County, fourth from left, read books and hold discussions with children during the school’s special vacation class. [KIM SANG-SEON]

The new housing complex in Yangpyeong County, Gyeonggi, is proving to be the solution to the region’s decreasing population.

Its local school, Gaegun Elementary School, was on the brink of closing down three years ago as it faced a substantial drop in its number of students from 198 in 2006 to 117 in 2013.

But then there was a sudden surge of new residents in 2014, when families began to move in from Seoul and other capital areas. Thanks to the newcomers, the school now has 134 students.

This is largely the result of a new housing complex in Gaegun-myeon, Yangpyeong County, which was built in 2014.

“Building a housing complex is more beneficial to the development of the region than building separate houses,” said Kim Seon-kyo, head of Yangpyeong County.

“It helps to prevent excessive industrial development and increase the birthrate.”

The new complex, Supsok Village, can hold up to 73 homes, and most residents are in their 30s or 40s.

“Most of the residents being young, we’ve recently had three families with newborn babies,” said Lee Hyeong-ho, head of Supsok Village. “Living in an era with such a low birthrate, this is real good news.”

Out of the 134 students attending Gaegun Elementary School, half of them are estimated to have moved in from the city.

The school’s personalized education system and the local government’s support for residents from the city are attracting more and more urban dwellers.

“Gaegun Elementary School runs school buses, so it’s easy for children to get to and from school,” said Kim Hyo-jun, 36, a mother. “Also, there’s a subway station nearby, so it takes only one hour to get to Seoul.”

The school also runs special classes during vacation, looking after children whose parents both work.

Out of the nine students enrolled in the special classes, six of them live in Supsok Village, having moved in from the city.

After seeing such good results, Yangpyeong County is planning to keep up with its efforts to support city dwellers moving in.

The number of city dwellers moving to Yangpyeong County is constantly increasing.

In 2013, 730 homeowners were from the city, but that number rose to 2,479 last year. The birthrate also increased from 1.224 in 2013 to 1.294 last year.

“Yangpyeong is one of the easiest places to move to from Seoul,” said the Yangpyeong head. “Housing complexes here could also be bought at the price of a lease in Seoul. We will continue to promote them.”

BY JEON IK-JIN [shon.jihye@joongang.co.kr]

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