Four out of every 10 women living in Seoul think marriage is not a necessity but a matter of choice, data showed Friday.
Of female Seoul residents aged 13 or higher, 39.9 percent said marriage is a lifestyle choice, showed the data titled "Seoul's women in statistics," which is based on a survey in 2012.
It compared with only 27.9 percent of their male counterparts who think marriage is a matter of choice, according to the data from the Seoul metropolitan city.
The result suggests a sharp change in the minds of South Koreans, especially among women who used to get married and stay at home under a traditional custom that remained even a few decades ago.
A recent sharp increase in the number of women getting higher education and finding stable employment has driven up women's sense of independence, giving them more freedom to or not to marry.
Amid the trend, the average age at which Seoul women first get married stood at 30.4 as of 2013, sharply increasing from 25.7 registered in 1993, according to the data.
As of 2010, 48.3 percent of Seoul women aged between 24 and 39 remained single, compared with just 19.7 percent recorded in 1995, the data also said.
Women generally have less inclination for marriage than men in the metropolitan city with 56.3 percent of female residents saying marriage is a positive thing. A total of 68.5 percent of men said they regard marriage positively, according to the city data.
Such rapid social changes were well reflected in the city's birthrate, with only 83,900 babies newly born in Seoul last year.
It was more than half the number of babies born in the city in the year 1993, which stood at 175,800.
Seoul women's average age when having their first child also rose to 32.3 as of 2012 from 28 recorded in 1993.
As of 2010, 70.7 percent of Seoul women aged from 25 to 39 had received a college or higher-level education, the data also showed. (Yonhap)