Research in Brief

Post-Covid-19 Income Changes among One- Person Households

  • Author

    Kim, Taewan, Lee, Ju-Mi

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In 2020, covid-19 plunged the world economy into turmoil. The pandemic’s economic shockwaves affected Korea too, making life even harder for its vulnerable groups. Protracted social distancing led to income declines for not only socially vulnerable households, but also a segment of high-income selfemployed people, thereby creating new at-risk groups.
The structure of the Korean family has undergone significant changes since the 2000s. One-person households have increased over the years, with a majority of them comprised of either elderly persons or young people. Older adults and young people who live alone tend be unstable in their economic participation. They are highly susceptible to changes in economic conditions and, in that sense, have come under the direct impact of covid-19.
The data on which this discussion is based come from Statistics Korea’s Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES). This brief examines quarterly changes in income among one-person households between 2019 and 2020, and identifies groups that are particularly vulnerable to the economic impact of covid-19. Income in this brief refers to equivalised disposable income, i.e., a household’s disposable income divided by the square root of the number of members in the household.
The unit used here for analysis is the household.


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