Home alone: One-person households keep rising

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Home alone: One-person households keep rising

The number of one-person households continued to rise last year as more Koreans opted for (or were forced into) the single life, government data showed Friday.

Households consisting of a single member totaled 5.62 million in 2017, compared with 5.39 million the previous year, according to data compiled by Statistics Korea.

This accounted for 28.6 percent of all households in the country, edging up 0.7 percentage points from a year earlier.

The percentage of those living alone has been on a sharp rise for decades, hitting the 20 percent mark in 2005 for the first time. It was 4.8 percent in 1980.

It became the most common household type in South Korea in 2015, making up 27.2 percent of households.

Last year, two-person families accounted for 26.7 percent of all families, followed by three-member families with 21.2 percent. Traditional four-member families placed fourth at 17.7 percent.

The rise in the number of one-person households seems to be closely related with a trend to forgo or delay marriage.

The number of Koreans tying the knot fell to its lowest level in 2017, as young people worried about the prolonged economic slowdown.

The number of people marrying in 2017 was 264,500, down 6.1 percent from a year earlier, according to Statistics Korea. The figure is the lowest since 1970 when statistics began to be compiled.

Many young Koreans are seen as delaying marriage because they cannot find good-paying employment.

The data showed that the average age of South Korean bridegrooms was a record high of 32.9 years in 2017, compared with 31 years of age in 2006.

It also showed that the average marrying age for first-time brides was 30.2 years in 2017, up from 27.8 years in 2006.

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