One in five Koreans over 65 live alone, the latest census shows.

According to the 2020 census, 21.2 percent of over-65s or 1.66 million live alone, up a whopping 36 percent from 2015.

The number of people over 80 who live alone surged 50 percent over the same period to 470,000.

Among young people in their 20s and 30s, singles also increased 29 percent to 2.38 million over the five-year period.

The elderly are particularly prone to living alone in rural areas. South Jeolla Province has the biggest proportion of single householders over 65 with 13.6 percent, followed by North Gyeongsang Province (11.7 percent), North Jeolla Province (11.5 percent) and Gangwon Province (10.6 percent). In Seoul, the proportion is only 6.5 percent and in Sejong city 4.1 percent.

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