Single-person Households Changing Korea

October 11, 2013
People eating alone at a Japanese ramen restaurant at Hongdae.

People eating alone at a Japanese ramen restaurant at Hongdae.

As more people choose to live alone, “single-person culture” is fast becoming a new trend.

According to Statistics Korea, single-person households accounted for 23.9 percent of total households in 2012, exceeding the traditional four-person household model (22.5 percent).

The shift is changing our society and the way people spend time and money.

As more singles choose to drink coffee, eat, and watch movies alone, the service industry is coming up with new marketing strategies to cash in.

For instance, a single-person Japanese restaurant in Shinchon offers seats with partitions on the tables. Only six tables cater for two customers – the other 11 seats are for singles. Up to 40 percent of the restaurant’s customers dine alone.

At Hongdae, a karaoke caters exclusively for singles. In each room – they measure only 3.3 square meters – a microphone, karaoke machine, and a song booklets await each customer. Starting from early afternoon on a weekday, more than half the rooms are booked.

The pet industry is also booming, with the number of grooming shops, pet cafes, and pet funeral homes increasing rapidly.

According to the pet-industry data, the market is worth 1.8 trillion won, and is expected to grow to 6 trillion won by 2020.

The rise of single-person households is changing the service industry and breaking down traditional stereotype views of people who do things alone.


  1. DI Cheon

    October 11, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    It is not easy young people to marry or mating. Too expensive to get marry.

  2. Twinky

    October 13, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    Two thumbs up especially for the girls. They can survive without men. Find a profession, and be independent. Do not sell yourselves to men in the name of Korean traditional marriage!