From Office Hours, a sociology podcast I regularly listen to:
This week we talk with Eric Klinenberg about his new book, Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone. Also be sure to check out Klinenberg’s New York Times article, One’s a Crowd.
Although Korea isn’t covered specifically, there’s a lot discussed that is very relevant to it, so I think readers will still find it very interesting. Personally, I really started paying attention after I heard the following 5 minutes in:
…but affluence, and prosperity, that’s not enough. We know that because there’s parts of the world where there’s lots of wealth, but very little living alone. So for instance, in Saudi Arabia, where almost no-one lives alone…and the reason for that is another big driver of living alone is women’s independence: women’s economic independence, and also their capacity to control their own lives, and control their own bodies. When women enter into the paid labor market, and gain sexual independence…personal independence…they are able to delay marriage (and now, people delay marriage longer than ever), they’re also able to get out of marriages that aren’t working. Through divorce, without worrying about sentencing themselves to a lifetime of poverty or having to move back in with their families. So, this is a BIG part of the story I tell…
Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to find a base national rate for South Korea, but in January 2009 the Seoul Development Institute did find that 20.4% of Seoul households involved people living alone, and which was expected to rise to 25% by 2030. For more information and discussion, see the Korea Herald here, or in passing in the following posts (the last is at the blog Asadal Thought):