SEOUL, Nov. 19 (Korea Bizwire) – A growing number of South Koreans are opting for a life on the farm as more urban dwellers grow tired of stress from the city and pursue a slower, simpler life, data showed Thursday.
A total of 44,586 households relocated to farms or the countryside from urban areas last year, surging 37.5 percent from a year ago and jumping tenfold from 2010, according to Korea Statistics.
While retirees in their 50s had been the majority of the group, people increasingly have headed to rural areas at a younger age in search of better food and a cleaner environment, said Kim Kang-hyun, a researcher at the Nonghyup Central Association.
More people are moving to farms for a different lifestyle due to rising living costs and the tight job market, showing a different pattern in the late 1990s, when massive layoffs following the 1997 Asian financial crisis forced many to exit cities in droves, Kim said.
Experts expect the changing trend to become more widespread in line with the rising elderly population, economic slowdown and changing perception of rural life.
“The population of people who relocate to farms for a better life is also increasing in advanced countries,” Kim said. “The trend is expected to fuel new life into rapidly aging rural areas in need of a new farming population.”