Jul 04, 2016

    More move to countryside in S. Korea


    MORE urban dwellers in South Korea are packing up and setting up a new home in the countryside as the "return to farm" movement gains ground in the country.

    Government data showed that the number of urban households moving to rural areas jumped by more than 10 per cent last year, compared with 2014, reported Yonhap news agency last week.

    In 2015, some 11,959 households moved from cities to rural areas. This was 11.2 per cent more than the figure in 2014, according to Statistics Korea.

    This highlights the growing appeal of the return-to-farm movement in the rapidly ageing society, where more urban citizens are choosing to move to the countryside after they retire.

    Those in their 50s and 60s made up the bulk of the city-to-country migrating population at 65 per cent, reported Yonhap.

    This trend is gradually altering the demographics of rural communities.

    For example, last year's data showed that 991 households in fishing villages used to live in the cities, which is 8.4 per cent higher from a year earlier.

    People living in the countryside are also older - the average age was 54 years old last year, up from 53.4 in 2014.

    However, this shift is not considered negative - in fact, the government has been handing out incentives to urge more people to settle in the rural parts of the country, in a reversal to the exodus of people who have been moving from farms to cities.