Number of South Korean househusbands jumps 24 per cent in two years
The number of full-time housewives in the country is also falling
By Park Jae-hyuk
The traditional distinction in gender roles in families — men working and women taking care of households — seems to have blurred amid the nation’s prolonged economic slump, government data showed Tuesday.
According to data from Statistics Korea, the number of full-time househusbands last year amounted to 161,000, up 24 percent from two years earlier. The figure was 150,000 in 2015 and 130,000 in 2014.
The total number of housekeeping husbands breaks down to 154,000 engaged in housekeeping activities and 7,000 dedicated to rearing preschool-age children.
Observers have interpreted the data that more middle-aged and older men just below 65 have become full-time househusbands as they cannot find decent jobs because of the protracted economic slump.
In contrast, a growing number of middle-aged or elderly women appear to be forced to work to support their families instead of their jobless husbands.
The number of full-time housewives fell to 7.04 million in 2016 from 7.3 million in 2013, declining for three consecutive years and marking the lowest figure ever.
In particular, women aged between 60 and 64 were the most active job seekers as the number in employment increased most by 8,600 during the January-October period last year, followed by women aged 35 to 39 at 6,400, women aged 55 to 59 at 5,000 and women aged over 65 at 4,200.
The increase in the number of househusbands reflects changes in the family structure and gender stereotypes, with higher-paid wives working and their jobless husbands remaining at home.