June 26, 2022

South Korea’s proportion of one-person households continued to increase, hitting a fresh new record last year over delay in marriage and rapid aging.

According to data from Statistics Korea, last year one-person families in the country accounted for 31.7 percent of the total, up from 30.2 percent the previous year.

One-person household data summary –

• In the reporting year, households consisting of a single member totaled 6.64 million in 2020, up from 6.15 million 2019.
• Last year, people in their 20s accounted for the largest proportion of 19.1 percent.
• This is followed by people in their 30s with 16.8 percent and those in their 50s with 15.6 percent.
• By gender, women aged 60 and older living alone had the largest share of 45.1 percent.
• Howeer, in the case of men, 56.9 percent were aged between 30s and 50s.
• As for reasons for living alone, 24.4 percent picked study and work, followed by death of a spouse with 23.4 percent.
• Around 16.2 percent mentioned that they voluntarily chose to live alone as they wanted to do so.
• In the reporting year, the proportion of single-member households that consist of working people fell below 60 percent.
• As of October 2020, the number of such households came to 3.7 million, accounting for 59.6 percent of all one-person households.
• The number of working people of the people in their 30s living alone came to 816,000 last year.
• As of end-2020, one-person households held an average of 176 million won in assets. While their financial debt came to an average of 25 million won.
• Last year, half of single-member households were living in a house of 12.1 pyong or less. One pyong is equivalent to 3.3 square meters in the country.
With more young South Koreans delaying or giving up on marriages due to economic difficulties and changes in social norms, the country’s already-low birth rate is continuously dropping.

According to reports, the country is also undergoing rapid aging with the expectation that it will become a super-aged society in 2025. This means that the proportion of those aged 65 and older will hit 20 percent of the total population.