The Korean Family: A 'Luxury Good'

Thursday, November 10, 2022
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Via Zoom. Register at

  • Hyunjoon Park
Flyer for Hyunjoon Park's talk with his portrait

In this talk, Hyunjoon Park will give a brief overview of how Korean families have changed over the last three decades in various family behaviors. Although the trends of falling marriage rates and rising divorce rates, along with the increase in the population living alone, are well known, less known is divergence in those family behaviors between the more and less educated. Tracing family changes differently for those at higher and lower ends of the educational hierarchy highlights growing educational differentials in family life. Compared to their college-educated counterparts, it is increasingly difficult for those without a college degree to form and maintain a family in Korea, making the Korean family a 'luxury good.'

Hyun Joon Park headshot

Hyunjoon Park is Korea Foundation Professor of Sociology and director of the James Joo-Jin Kim Center for Korean Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Park is interested in education, inequality and family in cross-national comparative perspective, focusing on South Korea and other East Asian societies. In recent years, he has studied changes in marriage, divorce, and living arrangements as well as consequences of demographic and economic trends for education, well-being, and socioeconomic outcomes of children, adolescents, and young adults in Korea. Park has published more than 70 peer-reviewed papers in leading journals. He is the author of the book, Re-Evaluating Education in Japan and Korea: De-mystifying Stereotypes (2013 Routledge) and a Korean-language book, Changes in Intergenerational Social Mobility: Has Korean Society Become More Open? (2021, Pakyoungstory). A new book, Diversity and the Transition to Adulthood in America, coauthored with Phoebe Ho and Grace Kao, has been published this summer from the University of California Press.

This event is made possible by generous support from the Korea Foundation and other friends of the Korea Program.