A life led alone suits women more than men
Female single-person households showed a relatively high satisfaction level across a broader age range while single men were less happy, especially in their 50s.
Of 2,100 single respondents living across Korea, 82.7 percent of 20-something women answered that they were content with their lives. The rate edged down to 78.3 percent for women in their 30s and then rebounded to 78.5 percent in the 40s. A total of 72.6 percent of women respondents in their 50s were positive about their lives.
In the case of males, 71.2 percent of those in their 20s were happy with their lives and the figure slipped to 66.6 percent for those in their 30s and 67.9 percent in the 40s. Contentment bottomed out for 50-something men and only 51.4 percent of them said they were satisfied with their lives.
The poll came as the country sees a record number of households comprised of a single person. That became the most common household type in 2015 when single people made up 27.2 percent of households. The latest statistics show the force continues to rise, reaching 5.62 million in 2017, or 28.6 percent of Korea’s households.
The institute didn’t specifically analyze the factors behind the drastic downturn of satisfaction among 50-something men, but a survey about worries of solo-dwellers provided clues.
The predominant concern across all ages and gender was loneliness, followed by health issues. Some 50.2 percent of 50-something people - both male and female - said that health conditions were a primary concern while 46 percent of that age group cited loneliness. Multiple answers were allowed.
But many enjoy living on their own. Freedom in life and decision-making was considered the greatest merit with 39.5 percent choosing that response. The second most popular aspect was spending free time alone with 33.2 percent choosing it.
The research noted that single households have a higher propensity to consume than multiple people households.
“One-person households will likely spend more of their income compared to a member of multiple-people households,” the report said, “Therefore, their influence will likely grow in the retail market.”
The average net assets of single people stood at 120 million won ($108,258) and the average debt was 19 million won.
An interesting aspect of single demographics’ wealth is that people in their 30s recorded the highest level of assets, a departure from nuclear families in which couples in their 50s are the wealthiest.
BY PARK EUN-JEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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