|▲ MBC's entertainment show 'I Live Alone'.|
▲ MBC's entertainment show 'I Live Alone'.
‘I Live Alone’, Solitary Living in Korea
The proportion of single-person households in Korea has increased significantly in recent years. As the proportion of single-person households increases, solitary life is becoming more popular, especially in terms of social trends. So, why have people started to pursue solitary lives? The biggest reason is that the public's view of solitary life has changed. People living on their own can be perceived as living confident and joyful lives. This trend is also seen in popular media. MBC's popular reality show, 'I Live Alone', is gaining huge popularity as single-person households have become more common and therefore more relatable in modern Korean society. The reality show 'I Live Alone' shows the single lives of many celebrities. They show the public the advantages and disadvantages of single life through the lives of the celebrity guests. This has given the public an interest in their lives and a sense of empathy and natural acceptance of single-person households. There have been many changes in the perception of citizens in single-person households, government policies, and different cultures related to single-person households.
Before the lives of single-person households came into the spotlight, people tended to negatively judge people who enjoyed their hobbies alone, such as eating alone in restaurants or watching movies alone. The parties have often been uncomfortable with such other people's views. But since living alone has become more and more popular, more people have come to embrace it. So a lot of negative perception and misunderstanding has disappeared regarding people doing things and living alone. These changes in people's perceptions and perspectives have created some positive effects in the lives of single-person households, and solitary life is more often being perceived as a growing opportunity.
It's not just public opinion that has changed. The number of single-person households has rapidly increased from 15.5 percent in 2000 to almost twice as much at 29.3 percent in 2019. This is why the government is coming up with policies related to single-person households. First, the housing policies for single-person households includes Happy Housing, Wish Housing, Do-it-Yourself Housing, Challenge Accommodation, and Urban Living Housing. The public safety policies includes Sex Offender Alert Services, Women/Student Safety Return Support Service, Seoul City Women's Safety and Security Service, and SOS National Safety Service. Finally, policies regarding health, welfare, and culture include Housing Pension, Long-Term Care Insurance for the elderly, and National Health Home/Multicultural Family Support Centers. The government will continue to make efforts to improve the quality of life of single-person households.
The rapid growth of single-person households has resulted in a number of lifestyle trends among the younger generation such as "minimal life" and "Yolorife". Minimalism, or ’minimal life’, is a lifestyle in which people try to live with the minimal number of things necessary for everyday life. The realization that happiness can be found by removing unnecessary things and focusing on what is precious and essential in life is the foundation of minimal life. YOLO is a word derived from the sentence 'You Only Live Once'. People who are looking for this kind of life call themselves ‘the Yolos’. The key to 'Yolorife' is to 'Enjoy the present!' Yolorife is a way of living a life without regrets while living alone.
The solitary lifestyle has become a part of Korean culture in various ways, and many citizens practice it. The proportion of single-person households will continue to increase. Accordingly, the government and the people must adapt and change their lifestyles to create a better quality of life. The government should especially make regular efforts to improve the quality of life of single-person households through government policies. Citizens need to have a good understanding of the way they are 'alone but not alone'. People need to understand that they may live alone, but that nobody has to be truly alone. No matter how many people live by themselves, people can still get together and become friends and family. It’s like this that people that live on their own can still be a part of a community.
By Jo Soo-bin, cub-reporter
By Jo Soo-bin, cub-reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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