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Young workers feel the squeeze

Korea’s ‘kangaroo tribe’ are forced to rely on parents to get by
Mar 03,2018
Two out of five office workers in their 20s and 30s are financially or emotionally dependent on their parents, according to a survey released Friday.

Job search website Saramin surveyed 1,274 office workers under 40 with a stable income, among which 36.7 percent confessed to be part of the “Kangaroo tribe” - a term frequently used in Korea and Japan to refer to adults who still receive support from their parents even after they have graduated from university.

Among employed kangaroo tribesmen who responded to the survey, four out of five said the help they received was financial, including living with their parents. Two out of five said they rely on their parents for emotional support. Multiple answers were allowed.

The most dominant form of financial support was housing. Seventy percent of kangaroo tribesmen said they were living with their parents or living in accommodation owned by their family, while 37.9 percent receive support for their living expenses. Around 27 percent have parents covering their insurance and 12.4 percent live outside their family home but receive support for their housing fees.

For those who receive money, the average amount of financial support was 300,000 won ($279) per month.

At the same time, 57 percent of the kangaroo tribesmen for repetition said they also regularly return the favor.

Housing prices were generally considered the biggest obstacle preventing young office workers from gaining financial independence.

Kangaroo tribesmen are becoming increasingly common as living costs increase at a much faster rate than wages, especially among young workers.

The average annual income for people younger than 30 increased by just 0.4 percent in 2016. The year-on-year increase rates for people in their 40s, 50s and 60s were all between 3.6 and 4.5 percent.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyongson@joongang.co.kr]