Korean People enjoy more leisure, less work in 2014

In 2014, people had more time for leisure activities and spent fewer hours at work thanks to the extended implementation of the five-day work week and the five-day school week, according to research released by the Ministry of Culture, Sports & Tourism. 

According to the research into Koreans' leisure activities throughout 2014, people spent 3.6 hours on average per weekday and 5.8 hours per day on the weekends enjoying their leisure time. They spent an average of KRW 130,000 on their leisure activities. These figures all showed increases from those of two years ago. In 2012, people spent 3.3 hours per weekday and 5.1 hours per day on the weekends doing leisure activities, and spent KRW 125,000. 

By type of leisure activity, 62.2 percent of people said they just hung out. Over 21 percent of them answered that they practice their hobbies and 8.5 percent of them participate in a sport. More people enjoyed hanging out than the 59.3 percent of 2012, when 20.9 percent of them said they practiced a hobby. Those who watched sports also rose. In 2012, 0.9 percent of them went to watch a sporting event in their free time. That rose to 1.6 percent in 2014. 

In regard to the form of leisure activities, 51.4 percent of respondents said they watched TV during their free time. Over 11 percent of them said they enjoyed surfing the Internet, while 4.5 percent and 4.0 percent of them said they took a walk or played video games. More women and older people said they enjoyed watching TV. More men enjoyed surfing the Internet and playing video games. 

Sources: Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Korea Culture & Tourism Institute

The average number of vacation days per month was 6.0 days in 2014, a 0.9 day rise from the 5.1 days of 2012. The average number of work hours per week was 47.2 hours, a 1.9 hour decline from the 49.1 hours of 2012. 

The research results imply that the implementation of a five-day workweek and a five-day school week led to the increased leisure time. According to the research, 45.8 percent of people answered that they work less under the five-day workweek, a 9.4 percent rise from the 36.4 percent of 2012. Over 45 percent of those surveyed said that increased leisure time was the biggest change, thanks to the introduction of the five-day workweek. 

Over 31 percent of them said they had more time to focus on self-improvement, while 26 percent of them said that trying to figure out how to spend their time was the biggest challenge due to the introduction of a five-day workweek. 

In regard to the five-day school week, 39.2 percent of parents and 16.5 percent of students said they had more leisure time thanks to the new schedule. Over 51 percent of students and 41.9 percent of parents said their satisfaction with their leisure time increased after the introduction of the five-day school week. 

Over 63 percent and 61.4 percent of respondents said that securing leisure equipment and developing and spreading their leisure programs were the most important government policies, to encourage people to engage in more leisure activities. Other answers included incubating more specialists in leisure activities (44.8 percent) and providing leisure activity support for the disadvantaged (41.8 percent). 

The average index of happiness for cultural and leisure activities was 70.1 points, according to recent research by the Korea Culture & Tourism Institute. The index uses numbers to show how happy people feel when engaging in cultural and leisure activities. The research is composed of five parts: personal conditions of leisure and expenditure, resources or leisure facilities, participation in leisure activities, attitude or awareness of leisure activities and overall satisfaction in leisure activities. 

At a closer glance, men felt more happiness, at 70.5 points, than women, at 69.7 points on the index. Respondents in their 20s showed a happiness of 72.6 points and those in their 70s marked 65.6 points. By income, those who earn more than KRW 6 million per month showed 73.1 points of happiness in their cultural and leisure time, more than those who earn less than KRW 1 million a month, who scored 64.2 points. People who live in large cities marked a happiness in their cultural and leisure activities of 70.6 points, more than those who live in smaller cities or the suburbs, who showed a happiness of 68.2 points. 

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