How Koreans spend their free time

A typical Korean spends his or her free time flipping through TV channels or surfing the Internet or social media. When he or she feels like going out, the destination is most likely to be a cinema.

That’s how two surveys released Wednesday paint the life of most Koreans when they are free from work, household chores and other personal duties.

“The absolute amount of free time has increased, but Koreans continue to spend it mostly resting,” Lee Soo-myoung, an official of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said Wednesday, explaining the results of a biannual survey on Koreans’ use of free time.

On average, Koreans get 3.6 hours of free time per weekday and 5.8 hours a day on holidays or the weekend. From 2012, when the previous survey was conducted, the figures grew by 18 minutes for a weekday and 42 minutes for a holiday.

At 51.4 percent, TV viewing is by far the most common way of spending free time, followed by Internet surfing/social networking services at 11.5 percent.

“The average amount of money spent during this free time came in at 130,000 won ($118) a month, up 5,000 won from 2012,” Lee said.

A separate survey, also released by the ministry Wednesday, offers a glimpse into the cultural life of Koreans.

Over 71.3 percent of respondents said they participated in a cultural activity at least once over the past year ― a slight increase from 69.6 percent in 2012.


“The figure has been on a steady rise and it’s the first time this year that it surpassed the 70-percent mark,” said an official at the state-run think tank Korea Culture & Tourism Institute.

Of those who said they had gone to see a cultural program, 65.8 percent said they had visited a cinema. Pop music events came in second at 14.4 percent, followed by plays (12.6 percent) and musicals (11.5 percent).

Asked to name the biggest obstacle to enjoying culture, 35.5 percent of people cited the cost.

The two polls were both commissioned by the ministry and led by the state-run institute. They were conducted separately on 10,000 Koreans aged 15 or older living across the country.



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