In 2020, three out of 10 elderlies were reported to live alone. The number of total divorce cases decreased, but the divorce rate of older couples over the age of 65 increased by more than 10%, according to the Statistics Korea’s “Senior Population Census” on Wednesday. Approximately 4.73 million households were reported to be consisting of the elderly households, whose householder is aged more than 65 years, 35.1% (1.661 million) of which was totaled as one-person households. The elderly who lives alone took up 31.3% of the population in 2000, which gradually increased to reach 35% of the population for the first time in 2021. Statistics Korea anticipated that the one-person elderly households would take up a larger proportion of the population to reach 36.6% by 2047.
The census report showed that old people living alone have more health problems than other elderly households. Only 17.1% of senior adults living alone responded to be “in good health,” which fell behind those who responded the same among the entire senior population.
Meanwhile, 61.9% of the respondents answered that they were satisfied with their relationship with their spouse. Male respondents who answered positively were 16.3% higher than their female counterparts. Both the divorce and remarriage of the elderly population increased. Although the number of divorce cases of the entire population reduced by 3.9% compared with last year, the divorce of older adults aged 65 years or more increased by 11.1% for male seniors and 13.7% for female seniors, respectively. The number of people who got remarried in the entire population declined by 15.7% and 14.5% for both men and women in general population, respectively; however, the number of older adults who got remarried increased by 1.4% and 8.5% for men and women, respectively.
Statistics Korea said that by 2025 Korea would be a superaged society where more than 20% of its population consisted of the elderly citizens. In 2021, senior citizens made up around 16.5% of the total population. The municipalities that have already transitioned into an ultra-aged society include South Gyeongsang Province (23.8%), followed by North Gyeongsang Province (21.5%), North Jeolla Province (21.4%), and Gangwon Province (20.9%).