Singles now account for more than 30% of households
People living alone now account for one-third of all households as Korea's demographics evolve rapidly.
According to Statistics Korea on Tuesday, there were 6.15 million people living alone as of last year, 30.2 percent of Korea's 20.3 million households.
This is the first time that group exceeded 30 percent since data started being compiled in 1960.
Compared to a year earlier, 299,000 people were added to the ranks of people living alone.
By age, people in their 20s accounted for 18.2 percent of that group, or 1.12 million people. People in their 30s accounted for 16.8 percent or 1.03 million.
There were a substantial number of elderly people living alone: 3 million people aged 60 or older, nearly half the people living alone.
The annual average income of people living alone as of 2018 was 21.2 million won ($19,500). That’s 36.3 percent of the 58.3 million won average for all Korean households.
Some 78 percent of people living alone made 30 million won or less a year while those who made more than 100 million won only accounted for 0.8 percent.
The statistics agency’s study also found that 53.7 percent live in apartments that are 40 square meters (430 square feet) or smaller.
A good proportion lived in stand-alone residences, 45.4 percent, while 31.3 percent lived in apartments.
Nearly 40 percent paid monthly rent, while 31 percent owned their residence. Some 15.8 percent lived in lump-sum deposit housing known as jeonse.
Overall, some 58 percent of Korean households owned their residences, while 19.7 percent lived on monthly rent and 15.1 percent on jeonse.
By region, Seoul topped the list with 1.3 million people living alone.
Gyeonggi came in second with 1.29 million.
While Seoul and Gyeonggi accounted for 42 percent of people living alone, Busan took third place with 6.9 percent or 423,000.
Young people account for a significant proportion of single households in cities. In other regions such as South and North Jeolla and North Gyeongsang, the majority of people living alone were 80 years old or older.
BY LEE HO-JEONG [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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