The presenter raises the winner’s hand. The young man smiles brightly. June 18, 2023 Hanium Cultural Sports Center in Hwasun, Jeollanam-do. At a 10,000-won rental apartment recruiting site in Hwasun-gun, 50 young people won a 15-pyeong rental apartment through a competition rate of 10:1. The initial contract period is 2 years, but can be extended up to twice, so the residency period is 6 years. Ahn Woo-jin (26), who applied at the recommendation of his cousin, was one of them. In an era when all young people are heading to the city, what is the background of his decision to move to Hwasun County, who grew up in a metropolitan city? I met Mr. Ahn, who is about to move in at the end of July, in
■ Still, if it’s in a rural area, wouldn’t it be possible to ‘prepare my own house’
―When do you move into a rental apartment in Hwasun-gun?
“You have to move in at the end of July and complete the move-in report by August. The apartment is built, but the Hwasun-gun Office and the Booyoung Apartment side signed a memorandum of understanding ( MOU ) to carry out the papering, flooring, and bathroom remodeling, so all you have to do is put your luggage in. The size is 20 pyeong according to the contract, including the corridor and underground parking lot, but the actual living area is 49 m2, which is about 15 pyeong. It’s a really good size for living alone.”
―How do you get a job when you move?
“The workplace is a public institution in Gwangju Metropolitan City. Compared to Gwangju, Hwasun has poor traffic. It’s hard to get to work without a car. If you go by car, it takes about 30 minutes. I heard from friends who live in Seoul that even if you have a car, it is economically beneficial not to turn it off. It’s clogged, parking is expensive, and the subway works well. However, the area is a bit difficult to use public transport. It’s okay when you’re a student, but office workers often use their own car because there are many times when you have to be on time.”
―You go to a public institution, have you met the conditions for renting an apartment?
“The income standard is below 150% of the median income. Now, it is based on income, but the next year when the annual leave accumulates, it may become difficult to apply.”
―Did you have something on your mind when you decided to come to Hwasun-gun?
“We considered several things. Not only my workplace, but also my hometown in Gwangju is 30 minutes away from here, so I thought it would be okay. It’s just that my car was inherited, so it’s very old. I was worried that it would be difficult to go to work if my car broke down.”
―Still, Gwangju would have much better infrastructure, but why did you apply?
“The contract condition is that the military pays the deposit (48 million won) instead, and the tenant pays a deposit of 880,000 won and a monthly rent of 120,000 won for one year. All you need is 1 million won. Of course, there are maintenance fees and other fees. If you add gas, water, and electricity to the apartment maintenance fee of 70,000 won, wouldn’t it be about 120,000 won? Even if you live in a one-room apartment, 400,000 won is spent on housing, which is a great savings. If you live like this for six years and save money, wouldn’t it be possible to buy an apartment in Seoul and buy an apartment with a loan in a rural area? If young people feel that they cannot buy an apartment in Seoul even if they borrow it, the region still feels that they can buy it if they borrow it.”
front of Booyoung Apartment in Hwasun on July 6th.
■ Is there any reason to stay in Hwasun even after 6 years
“Yes. I have a lot of friends these days who don’t want to get married, but most of them seem to be for practical reasons. In fact, earning 2 million won is enough to live alone. However, there is a thought that ‘buying a house and raising children won’t make the couple feel uncomfortable’. How much money does it cost to raise a child, people these days know too much information. So I think this policy is very good. It is possible to plan for the future, and isn’t the security deposit given by the military going away anyway, rather than being returned? Of course, the county office bears the interest, but the principal can be returned and used for other policies.”
―Then do you think you will settle down in Hwasun after six years?
“Actually, there is a job in Gwangju, isn’t it? There is no reason to live in Hwasun. Because people choose their homes based on their jobs. There are limits to house policies. In order to attract population in the long term, you have to have a job, but in fact, it seems to be the best policy because it is difficult with the power of the county office. First of all, I brought young people in, and my acquaintances can come to Hwasun to meet me. Also, among the young people, maybe there will be people who change their minds because they like living in this area after living here. Some people may meet and marry a Hwasun resident.”
―Do you intend to continue living in a rental apartment even after you get married?
“This is my personal opinion and greed, but it’s a house where you can live well until you get married, but when you have a baby and the child grows up, you might think that it is a bit narrow. I think it needs to be bigger (in size) to fully settle down and settle down in the long term. (Laughs) I am grateful enough for this house now.”
―If a rental apartment is provided at the level of ‘national equilibrium’ (85㎡), where you can live longer than 6 years and live with your children, are you willing to settle in a rural area that will disappear?
“You can settle down. I don’t need to waste money. The apartment I’m in now is also an old apartment, but wasn’t it remodeled well? It would be nice to live. Wouldn’t the competition for college admissions change in the era of population extinction in school districts? The method of education seems to be very different from the previous era.”
―I went to Hwasun Coal Mine Village, which was closed, and a person who worked there recalled and said, ‘Even back in the day, it seems that 40% of the coal mine workers did not live in Hwasun because of their children’s education, but instead lived in Gwangju.’
“There are limits to that. However, school districts and educational infrastructure are not something that can be done with the power of county offices. It seems that this policy is the best at the county office level.” ■ MZ
to Seoul ? If you only have a job…
Hwasun is a famous area for Korea Coal Corporation’s Hwasun Mining Office, also known as ‘Coal Mine’. As the Hwasun Mining Office, which led the coal mining era, was closed on June 30, 2023, the atmosphere of local extinction in Hwasun deepened. Hwasun-gun is in a desperate situation. It is not a small county with a total population of about 62,000, but considering that the population of Hwasun-gun was about 150,000 in the 1960s and 1970s when the coal mining industry was developing, the population has declined sharply. About 29% of the population is aged 65 or older.
When I listened to the elderly people I met in downtown Hwasun, it seemed that it was understandable for the younger generation to leave Hwasun. Amugae Hwang, who has lived in Hwasun for more than 30 years, said, “Even when the Jeonnam Provincial Office was located in Gwangju, quite a few young people commuted to Gwangju from here, but now that there is no provincial office, it is gradually becoming a silver town. There are agricultural and industrial complexes as workplaces, but most of them are foreign workers.”
Ahn Woo-jin, who grew up in Gwangju, said, “There were no jobs in the provinces, so his friends also went to Seoul. The same goes for Hwasun. If young people born and raised in Hwasun have good jobs in Hwasun, why would they want to leave Hwasun, where they have families?”
―Please tell me in detail why you are going to Seoul.
“There is Kia in Gwangju, and it is a really difficult place to get into. Didn’t there be a lot of articles about the rush of applicants for Hyundai Motor and Kia production positions this time? In Gwangju, if you say big companies to young people, OB Beer, Kia, KT& G (KT&G)), and the Institute of Science and Technology. Others include faculty members at Chonnam National University and Chosun University, public officials, and local KEPCO, albeit on a rotational basis. However, most of the institutes of science and technology hire experienced workers, and universities do not often hire workers. Big companies have to have really good specs.”
-How did you get a job?
“Fortunately, I got a job because I was in science and engineering. Moon and his friends, who are much smarter than me and have studied well, are having a hard time getting a job. I am also a science and engineering major, but I started as a contract worker, went through three contract positions, and ended up working in a public institution as a stable full-time job on the fifth.”
―Aren’t there quite a few places to work in small and medium-sized enterprises?
“My friends who went to small and medium-sized businesses said, ‘I don’t think this is the case.’ First of all, the monthly wage is equivalent to the minimum wage. The work is harder than part-time job, but the income is similar to part-time job. In fact, if you pay a lot and have job security, what’s the importance of a signboard, whether it’s a small business or a large company. Even for me, if Samsung gives me 5 million won per month and a small business gives me 7 million won per month, of course I go to the small business. However, small and medium-sized enterprises are treated so badly that young people avoid them.”
―Are the friends who went to Seoul satisfied?
“I have five friends who went to Seoul for work메이저사이트, and four of them say they want to come down. Those friends work for large corporations or foreign companies and earn higher salaries. However, the monthly rent for the officetel, 800,000 won for housing such as maintenance, and food are expensive, so there are too many fixed expenses. If you go to the outskirts where the infrastructure is poor, the commute time becomes too long. There is a lot of perception that ‘in Seoul, it’s hard to get married and buy a house if your parents don’t have financial ability.’”
■ Many high-income young people also consider relocating to the region, and
the results of the study were similar to Ahn’s story. According to a report by the Korea Research Institute for Local Administration, ‘Promotion of youth inflow and settlement policy of local governments in response to population decline’ (2020), in a survey of 1,000 young people in the metropolitan area, 58.7 people answered that they were ‘willing to move to non-metropolitan areas’. % (male 60%, female 57.6%). In particular, 77.7% of young people with a relatively stable job with an average monthly income of 3 million won or more considered relocating to the region. These survey results prove that it is not easy for young people with decent incomes to prepare for the future in the metropolitan area. In fact, when looking at the reasons for considering migration or settlement in small or medium-sized cities, small towns, or rural areas in the metropolitan area, 27.2% of respondents answered that ‘the cost of living, that is, the housing cost is expensive’ was the highest. (There are other reasons, such as ‘tired of competitive life in the big city’) As
the 10,000 won rental housing experiment in Hwasun-gun drew great attention, many local governments are offering similar support projects. Shinan-gun, Jeollanam-do, announced that it would do a rental housing project of 10,000 won per month for newlyweds and families with preschool children. Naju City, South Jeolla Province, announced a plan to provide free rental housing to young people between the ages of 18 and 45 who move into Naju after getting a job. In the end, ‘workplace’ is the key to the long-term success of these local governments’ businesses. Mr. Ahn said several times, “There is a limit to the power of the county office alone.” In the era of local extinction, while local governments induce the influx of young people through rental housing projects, the government is working on a project for local talent to work in non-metropolitan companies (‘Directions to respond to local extinction considering the local choice of young people’ (2022)) Korea Development Institute ( KDI) report) is time to think about how to proceed.