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More young adults living with parents due to financial difficulty

More young adults living with parents due to financial difficulty

Posted June. 02, 2012 05:24,   


A 34-year-old worker lives at her parents-in-law’s house to raise her 5-year-old son. Those around her envy her because she needs no babysitter or to run to a daycare center after work to take her child home.

The woman said, “Gone are days when daughters-in-law lead a hard life at their parents-in-law’s homes. Instead, parents don’t want to live with their children these days. So I`m lucky.”

Traditionally in Korea, adults used to live with their parents to support the latter in their old age, but parents now live with their adult children to support the latter, according to statistics compiled by the Seoul city government.

Over the past decade, the number of those in their 30s and 40s who live with their parents grew 91 percent to 484,663 in 2010 from 253,244 in 2000. The figure accounts for 14.7 percent of Seoul residents between the ages of 30 and 49.

A close look at the reasons for adults to live with their parents shows the pain being suffered by Koreans in their 30s and 40s. The largest proportion of parents over age 60 (29 percent) who live with their children said they do so because their children cannot live independently due to financial difficulty.

If the number of parents who live with their children to help with household chores and raise their grandchildren (10.5 percent) is added, the proportion increases to 39.5 percent, greater than the ratio of parents who get support from their children due to financial and health problems (32.3 percent).

The number of adults who think they are responsible to support their parents has fallen as well. The proportion of those over age 15 who agree with this notion declined almost by half from 60.7 percent in 2006 to 30.4 percent in 2010. In practice, those over age 60 said they do not want to live with their children.

In 2005, 49.3 percent of parents wanted to live with their children while 50.7 percent said no. The figure for the former group, however, sharply declined to 29.2 percent last year, less than half the figure for the latter group (70.3 percent).

Lee Myung-jin, a sociology professor at Korea University, said, “The individual effort to deal with practical problems such as unemployment and child rearing has led to an increase in the number of adults living with their parents,” adding, “The government needs to devise policy measures to ease these burdens of individuals."