Fewer Koreans Want to Move Abroad
The Chosun Ilbo
Aug 15, 2015

More Koreans would now rather stay put than move abroad or send their children to school in another country. But fewer now feel an obligation to their own parents and are happy to let them fend for themselves.

The findings come from a survey on family values of 1,000 people organized by the Chosun Ilbo and Seoul National University's Asia Center to mark the 70th anniversary of Korea's liberation from the Japanese colonial rule.

Some 30.3 percent said they would be willing to emigrate if the opportunity arises, down from a peak of 46.1 percent in 2004

The numbers decreased across all age groups, though younger people were naturally still keener to see the world.

Kim Seok-ho, a sociology professor at SNU, said, "Usually when the economy is bad and uncertain, people are more prone to emigrating. There are still uncertainties in Korea, but its economy has come a long way and is quite stable. That may be the reason more people are reluctant to move abroad, where they have to start all over again."

Asked whether they would send their children to school abroad at an early age, 50.9 percent said yes, compared to 69.8 percent in 2005. Many people are realizing that sending their kids to schools abroad is no longer cost effective and the experience does not guarantee better prospects in Korea any more.

However, the proportion of people who said they are proud to be Korean dropped from 85.7 percent in 2010 to 72.3 percent in 2015.

And more people think there is no point sacrificing individual happiness for a group, up from 41.9 percent in 2004 to 66.3 percent this year.

Views about the family are also rapidly changing. Only 42 percent said adult children have a duty to look after their parents, a significant drop from 58 percent in 2004.

On the other hand, there is a growing consensus that women's autonomy and status should be socially recognized. Only 24 percent agreed with the statement, "No matter how capable a woman is, her social status is determined by her husband," down from 44 percent 20 years ago.

The traditional preference for boys over girls is also fading, as just seven percent said they agree a couple should have at least one son.

In 2004, 64 percent said divorce should be avoided for the sake of the children no matter how bad the marriage, but that has dwindled to 35.

Fewer and fewer people believe getting married is a must, down from 25.7 percent in 2006 to 14.9 percent.

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