Nearly half a million S. Koreans move to rural areas in 2018


Nearly half a million South Koreans relocated to farms and other rural areas last year, government data showed Thursday, as the government strengthened measures and support for rural settlements. The data compiled by Statistics Korea showed 490,330 people moved to rural areas in 2018. Among them, 17,856 people from 11,961 households migrated to rural areas for farming, while the rest opted to live in the countryside and are involved in other careers. The figure represented a drop from 516,817 people who chose to settle down at rural areas in 2017. Among them, 19,630 moved to rural areas to grow crops.


The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said the number of migrated farming households, whose heads are aged less than 40, stood at 1,356 in 2018, accounting for 11.3 percent of the total households that migrated to rural areas for farming. The government has provided a set of measures to boost domestic migration to rural areas for farming and other careers in a country where one-fifth of South Korea’s 51 million population lives in Seoul.


Currently, the government offers eligible young farmers aged from 18 to 40 with subsidies of up to 1 million won (US$843) per month in their first three years of settlement. Novice farmers can receive support in renting farmland and getting on-site training programs. The agricultural ministry operates eight residential support centers across the country where newcomers of all ages, including young adults, can live for around a year to try raising crops and prepare to run their own farms. Tenants of the centers only need to pay utility bills with other expenses being covered by the government.



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