The Korea Herald


Number of single-person households surpasses 6 million

The COVID-19 pandemic changes how those living alone spend time and manage finances

By Choi Jae-hee

Published : Nov. 8, 2020 - 15:30

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The number of people residing alone hit more than 6 million as of this year as the prolonged coronavirus pandemic accelerated a stay-at-home trend while shifting interests towards stock investment from savings, an industry report showed Sunday.

According to KB Financial Group’s report on single-person households in South Korea, the tally for one-person households reached 6.17 million, which accounts for 30.3 percent of all households. Relative to the entire population, the figure indicates that 12 out of 100 local residents are living alone.

In the wake of the protracted COVID-19 outbreak, an increasing number of single-person households turned to home-based activities in continued efforts to combat the virus spread, changing how they spend time and money.

For instance, nearly half of 2,000 people living alone aged between 25 and 59 preferred to go straight home after work instead of dining out with friends or colleagues, while more than half were more likely to spend time and money near their houses after the COVID-19 broke out, the report showed.

The most popular stay-at-home activity was watching videos on streaming sites like Netflix, according to 70.5 percent of participants, followed by online shopping (46.5 percent) and reading books (34 percent). 

Amid the ultra-low interest environment triggered by the COVID-19, single-person households, especially those in their 20s and 30s rushed to stock and fund investments instead of pouring money into savings and deposit products. The surveyed 20-somethings were found to have invested 13.3 percent of their assets into stocks, sharply up from 5.5 percent in last year. 

Meanwhile, 44.1 percent of the respondents answered they would continue to live alone over the next 10 years, up 10 percentage points from 2018 with 34.5 percent. To a question why they have decided to enjoy a single life, 36.6 percent said it is convenient to live alone and 23.1 percent cited workplace issues. 

By Choi Jae-hee (