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Young S. Koreans leave hometowns to live in Seoul and nearby cities: data

By Park Sae-jin Posted : November 7, 2023, 11:23 Updated : November 7, 2023, 13:38

SEOUL -- Some 600,000 young South Koreans in their 20s have left their hometowns to move to Seoul and its surrounding cities during the last decade, data released by the national statistics information service showed.

In South Korea with a population of about 52 million, about 25.9 million people live in Seoul and its metropolitan area. It is mainly because major companies are located in the capital city area, as well as infrastructure for the culture, society, finance, healthcare, and education. The metropolitan area is webbed with networks of public transport including subway trains and buses that play multiple roles as city buses and intercity buses.

The cost of living is also higher in the metropolitan area than in rural areas. A single-household person living in an outskirt area of Seoul required an average of at least 2,270,000 won ($1,740) monthly for rent, food, transport, and payments for other necessities such as phone and internet bills as of December 2022, while it costs about one million won every month to live in the southern port city of Busan with a population of about 3.4 million. Busan is the second-largest city in South Korea.

Data released by Statistics Korea on November 7 showed that a total of about 591,000 young people who were in their 20s moved into Seoul and its surrounding cities from other provinces and cities between 2013 and 2022.

Among those who moved, 341,000 people nested in the capital city while 15,000 young people moved to the western port city of Incheon, and 235,000 people moved to Gyeonggi Province where other cities such as Seongnam, Guri, Goyang, and Hwaseong are located.

Bank of Korea analyzed through a report earlier in 2023 that the difference in job opportunities available in Seoul and other provincial areas draws young people to the capital city area while Seoul and the metropolitan area's infrastructure for education also attracts young university students.

About 47,000 young people in their 20s moved into Seoul and its surrounding cities during the first three quarters of 2023, while 12,000 people moved out of the South Gyeongsang Province where Busan is located, and 7,000 people moved out of North Gyeongsang Province.

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