The Korea Herald


More Koreans get married late -- or not at all

By Park Ga-young

Published : March 22, 2017 - 17:48

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South Korea’s latest marriage and divorce figures showed a continuing trend of late marriages or avoidance of wedlock, according to data from Statistics Korea Wednesday. The number of marriages hit its lowest mark since 1977.

South Korea saw fewer marriages and fewer divorces in 2016 from the previous year.

In 2016, there were 281,600 marriages, down 7 percent, or 21,200, from 2015 due to a decline in population of those in their 20s and 30s, unstable job conditions, high rent and a wide-spreading trend of late marriage, according to Statistics Korea.

The crude marriage rate -- the annual number of marriages per 1,000 people -- was 5.5 in 2016, the lowest figure since the statistics began in 1970. In 1970, the crude marriage rate was 295.1 marriages per 1,000 people.

A decrease in the number of marriages is seen to reduce the number of divorces. A total of 107,300 couples got divorced in 2016, 1.7 percent, or 1,800, less than the previous year. The crude divorce rate was 2.1, the lowest since 1997.

Three out of 10 divorced couples had lived more than 20 years together before dissolving their vows, the statistics showed.

The average marriage age continued to rise last year. The average age of marriage for men was 32.8 years, with that for women at 30.1 years. It compares to 28.4 years old for men and 25.5 years old for women in 1996.

The number of marriages with a foreign national declined by 3.2 percent, or 700, to 20,600 in 2016. The number of divorces with a foreign national also fell by 6.9 percent, or 600, to 7,700. Marriages with a foreign national hit a record high in 2005 for both men and women. 

By Park Ga-young (