Greater Seoul area accounts for more than 50% of S. Korea’s population

Posted on : 2021-07-30 18:04 KST Modified on : 2021-07-30 18:04 KST
Koreans have an average age of 43.1 years, half a year older than a year before
(Clip Art Korea)
(Clip Art Korea)

The population of the greater Seoul area has exceeded 26 million for the first time. 50.2% of South Korea’s total population of 51,829,000 people live in the capital of Seoul, Incheon, and Gyeonggi Province.

There were a total of 18,526,000 housing units in Korea last year, up by nearly 400,000 from the previous year. More than half of that increase occurred in the greater Seoul area.

Single-person households account for 31.7% of all households in the country, making them the most common type. Koreans have an average age of 43.1 years, half a year older than a year before.

A growing number of multicultural households and single-parent households are bringing greater diversity to Korean families.

Greater Seoul rapidly becoming more dominant

The 2020 Population and Housing Census that Statistics Korea released on Thursday shows that Korea’s total population (including resident aliens) as of Nov. 1, 2020, had increased 50,000 from the previous year to 51,829,000. The population of the greater Seoul area is 26,043,000, representing more than half (50.2%) of the total population. Seoul and Incheon saw their populations decline by 53,000 and 7,000 people, respectively, while Gyeonggi Province’s population increased by 211,000 people.

Ten of the 15 cities, counties and municipal districts with the most population growth from a year ago were in Gyeonggi Province. The area with the most growth was Hwaseong, in Gyeonggi Province, where the population rose by 42,000 people, a 5% increase.

Other areas with high growth were Gimpo in Gyeonggi Province (32,000, 7.1%) and Seoul’s Gangdong District (29,000, 7%).

Among the total 18,526,000 houses in Korea last year, 46.1% were scattered across the greater Seoul area. The housing supply increased by a total of 399,000 units last year, with 215,000 of those new units in the greater Seoul area.

The provinces and metropolitan areas where the housing supply increased the most were Gyeonggi Province (144,000), Seoul (61,000), South Gyeongsang Province (30,000), and Busan (26,000).

Three of every 10 households are people living alone

The total number of households in Korea stood at 21,485,000 on Nov. 1, 2020, up 2.8% year on year. Households consisted of an average of 2.34 people, which fell by 0.05 people, largely because of the surge in people living alone.

Korea had 6,643,000 single-family households last year, representing a year-on-year increase of 496,000. That was the highest reported rate of growth (1.5%).

Single-person households are the most common type of household in Korea, accounting for 31.7% of the total. The most common household size prior to 2005 was four, but households have been gradually shrinking since then. Two-people households became the dominant type in 2010, and then single-person households took that spot in 2015.

Broken down by region, single-person households represented the largest share of the population in Daejeon, at 36.3%. That percentage also showed the highest year-on-year increase, up 2.6 points.

Single-person households represented the lowest share of the population, at 27.6%, in Gyeonggi Province. These households tend to be very young or very old, clustering at the extremes of the age spectrum. By age group, 19.1% of single-person households were in their 20s, 18.1% were in their 70s and above, and 16.8% were in their 30s.

Each retiree is supported by four workers

Korea’s population is graying at an increasing rate. Among native Koreans, 8,206,000 people were aged 65 and above, a year-on-year increase of 460,000 (5.9%). The older adults now account for 16.4% of the total population.

The UN says that a society is “aging” when over 7% of the population are elderly, “aged” when over 14% are elderly, and “super-aged” when over 20% are. Under those criteria, Korea became an aged society in 2017.

Taking care of the older adults is placing a heavier burden on society. Korea’s old-age dependency ratio, which expresses the older adult population as a percentage of the working-age population, has been rising each year and is currently at 23. That means there’s about one older adult for every four workers.

In more rural parts of the country, older adults account for 31.5% of the local population, which puts the old-age dependency ratio there at 52.4. In those areas, there’s one older adult to support for every 1.9 workers.

Korean families are starting to look more diverse

The composition of families in Korean society is gradually becoming more diverse. There were 1,533,000 single-parent households in Korea last year, including parents who have never married and parents who have gotten divorced or lost a spouse. That was an increase of 4,000 households (0.2%) from the year before.

Those single-parent households included 981,000 households in which the mother lives with unmarried children and 282,000 in which the father lives with unmarried children.

Last year, Korea had 368,000 multicultural households, including both naturalized citizens and marriage migrants, representing an increase of 14,000 households (3.9%) from the previous year. There were 132,000 households consisting of native-born Koreans and foreign marriage migrants, making up the largest segment of this category.

By Lee Ji-hye, staff reporter

Please direct comments or questions to []

button that move to original korean article (클릭시 원문으로 이동하는 버튼)

Related stories