Rising Unemployment Leads to Korea’s Kangaroo Families

Article from Herald Business:

Rising Number of Unemployed 30 Year Olds in “Kangaroo Family”…Half of Children Living with their 60 Year Old Parents

kangaroo family south korea unemployment children parents

The number of 30 year olds in “kangaroo families” who live off their parents, or are not financially independent, is rising during the worst unemployment crisis in history.

Parents who look after their “grown-up children” are constantly thinking, “it will be hard for our children to have a better life than us.”

According to statistics from the recent “Seoul Citizens’ Hopes for Elderly Life” report, 45.2% of those in their 60s live with their children. One out of two of those older than 60 live with their children.

39.7% of children who live with their parents answered “economic and health reasons make it impossible to be independent.”

Almost half of people older than 60 (46.5%) live with their children “to support them,” including 6.8% who said they were living with their children “to support them with their grandchildren’s upbringing and housework.”

Thirty-two year old Mr. A graduated from a university in Seoul, but has been unable to find a job in this unemployment crisis, and is part of a kangaroo family. He eats “food prepared for him by his mom” and occasionally takes “his dad’s car” out. From time to time, Mr. A works a part-time job to earn spending money, and is preparing to take a certification test. Marriage is still a far thought for Mr. A, who is still not independent from his parents because of economic and psychological reasons.

One housewife in her fifties who lives with her employed thirty year old son said, “My son has just started working, so he hasn’t saved up any money yet” and “Since he needs to save money for marriage and work hard, I’m helping him with all his living expenses, and if he needs to go out, I let him use my husband’s car.”

As the elderly are looking after their children, there is no one to look after them.

A considerable number of parents with children who are unemployed or who have just started working are part of the “Baby Boomer” generation born between the mid 1950’s to the early 60s. It is estimated that of the 710,000 Baby Boomers, many are are not prepared for their old age.

Parents are taking responsibility for their dependent children, but there is a slow decline in childrens’ sense of responsibility towards supporting their parents.

According to a recent report by the Korea Development Institute (KDI) titled, “The Role that Families, the Government, and Society Have in Social Security,” in response to the question ‘Who is responsible for taking care of aging parents?’ the percentage of people who answered “their families have to look after them” decreased by more than half from 2002 (70.7%) to 2014 (31.7%).

KDI Finance and Welfare Policy Researcher Kim Hwi-sam said, “Parents in this generation are not able to see their children live independently, and rather than putting money towards providing for themselves in their old age, they tend to spend all that money on their children’s education, while the younger generation is establishing a rational culture where they focus on their own responsibilities.” “Parents today are the last generation that will support and live with their parents and there is a high possibility of it becoming a generation where parents will not get support from their children.”

Comments from Naver:


Sorry mom and dad…


Do you know how many years it will take you to buy a house on your own even if you work at a big company?…It’s better to live with your parents while saving money.


There are many 40 year olds in kangaroo families.


I’m really sorry to my parents..I will definitely succeed and be a good filial child.


Cheer up…it’s difficult for everyone.


When I was young, I didn’t envision my thirties to be like this…


“It’s Youth Because It Hurts” is such a garbage book fit for kindling…the writer was born with a gold spoon in his mouth so he never lacked for anything and didn’t encounter any difficulties so he has never faced reality and thus wrote this crap book. It’s still on the bestseller list at the bookstore, but shouldn’t we boycott it?


As we get older, it becomes a burden to live off of our parents, and we are in a rush to find a job, and we end up working at a weird workplace, waste time, and then leave the company…there are a lot of young people stuck in this vicious cycle.


They say Westerners have a strong sense of independence, so from early on, they become independent without help from their parents. But in my opinion, they seem to have a strong economy, and there are plenty of jobs, such that you can make enough to live on even if you don’t graduate from college, and you have certain amenities. So their society as a whole was able to emphasize the value of independence. But recently, they’re having a hard time too, so there is an increasing number of people relying on their parents. They are probably similarly jealous of those with wealthy parents. Compared to Westerns, Koreans do not have as strong a need for independence, but this is not intrinsic, it’s just become this way because of social and economic factors.


My dad always says if I move out, I’ll have to spend a lot of money…


If we raised our hourly wages like Japan, I would work a part-time job like hell and live by myself from a young age keke It’s a vicious cycle because the wage is pathetic while our cost of living remains high ke

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