Korea’s population mobility fell in 2010 as people were discouraged from moving amid slumping property market conditions, a government report showed Thursday.
According to the report by Statistics Korea, a total of 8.23 million people changed their legal residence last year, down 3.1 percent from a year earlier. This marked the fourth consecutive year with less movement since 2007 when the mobility declined 2.9 percent.
The mobility rate ― the number of people who changed their addresses per every 100 ― dropped to 16.5 percent, the lowest level since 1975, the report showed.
The downward trend is attributed to sluggish housing market conditions that discouraged people from moving. Korea has a population of around 50 million with more than 10 million residing in Seoul and its surrounding areas.
The statistics agency said population mobility is slowing down as the nation sees the completion of the urbanization process in which people tend to move toward large cities for jobs and better living conditions.
“Along with the completion of urbanization, improving income levels in provinces also played a role in discouraging people from moving into larger cities,” a government official said.
The report showed that major cities registered a net outflow of people last year.
Seoul saw its population decrease 1.1 percent with a net 115,023 people moving out of the nation’s capital. Busan, the nation’s second-largest city located in the southeastern region, reported a net outflow of 28,466 residents.
Gyeonggi Province surrounding Seoul, however, saw its population increase by 142,437 last year, while the populations in South and North Chungcheong Provinces grew by 16,178 and 5,964, respectively, according to the report.