SOUTH KOREA Boom in families leaving Seoul to return to the countryside

According to official government data, in 2021 they grew by 5.6%, the highest figure in the last ten years, and it is mainly about young couples. Among the factors that favor this phenomenon – which Koreans call kwichon – are the prohibitive prices of housing in the city and the experience of smart-working during the pandemic, but also the growing frustration due to the ruthless competition in the labor market that has led some people to opt for agriculture.

Seoul () – South Korea is one of the countries with the lowest fertility rate in the world: with only 0.8 children per woman, it is far behind others with known demographic problems, such as Japan, where the rate fertility is 1.3. If to this data we add the fact that about half of the South Korean population lives in Seoul or in the vicinity of the capital, it is not difficult to imagine the condition of desolate decadence to which rural areas of Korea seem destined. However, a new phenomenon seems to have begun to give hope to these regions apparently resigned to their fate: many young South Koreans are leaving the cities to settle in the countryside.

According to data published this summer by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, 378,000 family units (about 515,000 people) residing in urban areas moved in 2021 to rural areas, which represents +5.6% compared to the previous year. It’s the biggest increase since the government began tracking this statistic a decade ago.

The data shows that not only the elderly return to the countryside after spending their lives working in the city. There are more and more young who decide to leave the frenetic urban life of South Korea and by now the phenomenon has already acquired important dimensions. As The Economist points out, just under half of those families are made up of couples under the age of 40.

This return to the villages – which in Korean is called kwichon – is favored by several circumstances. No doubt the prohibitive property prices in the cityIt is an important factor that drives people to return to the field. For example, the average price of an apartment in Seoul has more than doubled since 2017. On the other hand, the new work styles that began during the pandemic, and the strong push for digitization that occurred at the same time, have probably also helped convince hundreds of thousands of young people to find a new home away from the chaos of the city. Others, frustrated by the fierce competition for work that characterizes South Korea, have given up hope of finding a well-paying white-collar job and turned instead to farming. In this effort they have been able to count on the support of the government, which considers the kwichon a useful tool to combat rural depopulation.

Initiatives in this sense are not lacking and many times they have turned out to be particularly intelligent. Instead of spending money on (often unsuccessful) incentives for people to move to depopulated rural areas, new programs have recently been launched that aim more at establish new relations between the urban population and the countryside. A project in Gyeongsang-nam province, for example, aims to teach how to prepare healthy foods typical of the Korean culinary tradition, for which it takes young people living in large cities to rural Hamyang county for a few weeks, where old women of the village pass on their knowledge to them. Hoping that this synergy will soon bring new life to rural areas.

Source link

Written by Editor TLN

Leave a Reply

Germany apologizes for the Munich 72 attack and the "lack of subsequent clarification"

Germany apologizes for the Munich 72 attack and the “lack of subsequent clarification”

The Apple Watch Pro would have more buttons and a price of up to 1,000 dollars