South Korean Population Mobility Hits 50-Year Low in September Due to Aging and Real Estate Slump

SEOUL, - A dramatic decrease in the number of South Koreans changing residences was recorded in September, reaching the lowest levels since the early 1970s. The decline is attributed to factors such as an aging population and a stagnating real estate market.

According to a news release by Yonhap News Agency, around 450,000 people moved to different residences last month, showing a 1.6 percent drop from the same period last year. This is the lowest figure for any September since 1973, when the number was 378,000. The agency has been compiling this data since January 1970.

The population mobility rate, which measures the percentage of individuals relocating per 100 people, was 10.7 percent last month, marking a 0.2 percentage-point decrease from the previous year.

The dip is primarily due to fewer people in their 20s changing residences, a trend that deviates from the norm as young adults typically relocate frequently due to housing expenses and job opportunities. However, the number of young adults is falling owing to low birth rates, while the number of senior citizens is increasing because of rapid population aging.

Moreover, the sluggish real estate market, exacerbated by rising interest rates and an economic slowdown, is contributing to the decline in residential moves.

Regionally, Seoul recorded a net outflow of 1,370 people in September, largely due to high home prices. In contrast, Gyeonggi Province, surrounding the capital, and the western port city of Incheon experienced net inflows of 1,238 and 2,917 residents, respectively. The second-largest city, Busan, situated 320 kilometers southeast of Seoul, witnessed a net outflow of 961 people, while North Gyeongsang Province had a net loss of 661 residents.

Interestingly, the third quarter of 2023 saw a 2.4 percent on-year increase in population mobility, totaling 1.47 million people. This marks the first quarterly rise since the fourth quarter of 2020, with the mobility rate inching up 0.3 percentage point to 11.4 percent.

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