Published : 2013-10-29 19:59
Updated : 2013-10-29 19:59
In one out of six marriages in South Korea last year, the bride was older than the groom, data showed Tuesday, implying that the notion of marriage in a country of strict Confucian-based tradition is changing.
According to the data compiled by state-run Statistics Korea, 15.6 percent of all married couples had a female older than her male parter last year.
It marked a sharp increase from the 11.6 percent tallied in 2002. Couples where the groom was older than the bride, in contrast, came to 68.2 percent last year, falling 5.9 percentage points from a decade earlier.
The number of couples tying the knot stood at 327,100 in 2012, down 0.6 percent from a year earlier. It marked the first on-year decline since 2009, when the figure moved down 5.5 percent from the previous year.
“The rise in the number of couples of brides older than grooms implies an upgrade in the social status of females, and also reflects that South Korea has become more open to changes,” an official from the state-run agency said.
Traditionally in South Korea, where male-dominated Confucian philosophy plays a crucial role in the culture, marriages between older females and younger males have been considered unusual.
Also, South Koreans waited until later in life to marry in 2012 compared to 22 years earlier, apparently as more couples regard marriage as an option rather than a necessity, and placed a higher priority on pursuing their careers instead.
The average age for first marriages among men was 32.1 last year, up 0.23 years from a year earlier, and the figure for women also rose 0.27 to 29.4, the agency’s data also showed.
These ages are the highest since 1990 when the agency began to provide related data. Then, the average age for men to marry stood at 27.8 with women marrying at the average age of 24.8.
October has been cited as the most preferred month for weddings, the data also showed, with an annual average of 38,340 marriages taking place in this autumn month between 2000-2012, hovering far above the monthly average of 26,760 over the cited period.
November witnessed a monthly average of 37,848 cases, followed by May with 34,643 cases, breaking the social belief in South Korea that most couples want to celebrate their nuptials during the warmer spring season. (Yonhap News)