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Fewer millennials getting married in Korea: report

The Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs’ latest report, published Monday, showed only 3 to 4 in 10 unmarried Koreans aged between 20 and 44 are dating, with even fewer tying the knot.

In 2012, the percentage of men and women in a relationship stood at 33 and 37 percent, respectively, with fewer people dating as they get older. 

About 31 percent of men 30 to 34 years old were dating, and the number nearly halved to 14 percent for men 35 to 39 years old. Thirty percent of women 30 to 34 years old were dating, and that number dropped to 21 percent for women 35 to 39 years old.

Men with a higher level of education fared better in the dating market, while the opposite trend emerged for women -- college-educated women dated less than women with a high school diploma or less.

Income status affected men far greater than women. While zero percent of men without an income were in a relationship, 21 percent of women who had no earnings were. A positive correlation was shown between income and dating for both sexes. 

For both men and women, the employed were more likely to date than the unemployed.

The country’s unmarried population has drastically increased in the past 20 years. The percentage of unmarried men aged 25 to 29 rose from 64 percent in 1995 to 90 percent in 2015. Over the same period, the percentage of unmarried women in the same age group increased from 30 to 77 percent.

Older age groups saw significant increases in the unmarried proportion as well, from 19 to 56 percent for those aged 30 to 34, from 19 to 56 percent for those aged 35 to 39 and from 7 to 33 percent for those aged 40 to 45.

In a country where marriage almost uniformly precedes childbirth, fewer marriages translates to fewer children being born, the report said, arguing the government needs to pursue a policy to tackle the recent phenomenon.

The report only surveyed heterosexual relationships.

By Kim Arin (