Posted by Sophie-Ha Thursday, March 17, 2022

2021 had the fewest number of marriages in Korea in its recorded history


The number of marriages in 2021 was 193,000, the lowest since the tracking of marriages began in 1970. The number of marriages was maintained over the 200,000 range for five years from 2016 but fell to 190,000 due to the impact of population decline and the COVID-19 pandemic. As the number of foreigners entering the country decreased due to the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19), the number of marriages with foreigners also declined sharply.

On March 17th, Statistics Korea released the ‘2021 Marriage and Divorce Statistics’ containing these details. The number of marriages last year was 193,000, down 9.8% (21,000) from the previous year.

The number of marriages by age decreased the most compared to the previous year for men in their early 30s (10.3%) and women in their late 20s (14.4%). Looking at the marriage rate by age, an average of 42.1% of men in their early 30s and 40.8% of women in their early 30s were married.

The average age at which individuals first married was 33.4 years for men and 31.1 years for women, up 0.1 years for men and 0.3 years for women. Compared to 10 years ago, the age of men when they first get married increased by 1.5 years and women by 1.9 years, respectively.

For men, first marriages accounted for 83.7% and remarriage 16.1% of all marriages in South Korea. Compared to the previous year, first marriages decreased by 10.5%, and remarriages decreased by 6.6%, respectively. Among women, first marriages accounted for 81.3% and remarriage 18.5%. First marriages for women decreased by 10.6%, and remarriage decreased by 6.5%, respectively.

The problem is that the rate of decline in the number of marriages is gradually accelerating. It took 19 years (1997-2015) for the annual number of marriages to decrease from 300,000s to 200,000s. However, it took only five years (2016-2020) for the number of marriages to go from 200,000s to the 100,000s. In fact, the rate of decline in the number of marriages is four times faster now.

As the number of marriages decreases, the number of divorces naturally decreases. There were 102,000 divorces in 2021, down 4.5% from the previous year.

An official from the National Statistical Office stated, “The number of marriages and divorces is decreasing due to the decrease in the population, delays in marriage due to the impact of COVID-19, and changes in the perception of marriage."

The number of foreign marriages also plummeted due to the impact of COVID-19. The number of marriages with foreigners last year was 13,000, down 14.6% from the previous year. The number of marriages of Korean men with foreign women decreased by 19.1% from the previous year to 9,000. The number of marriages of Korean women with foreign men was 4,000, down 2.9% from the previous year. As a result, the proportion of marriages with foreigners among all marriages decreased by 0.4 percentage points (points) from the previous year to 6.8%.

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Violetta12311,029 pts Thursday, March 17, 2022 0
Thursday, March 17, 2022

Given covid, the economy and the increasing divide between men and women in South Korea, I'm really not surprised.

14 (+17 / -3)
Agasssi100 pts Thursday, March 17, 2022 3
Thursday, March 17, 2022

Having lived in SK for 10 years now, my (maybe unpopular) opinion is that Koreans don't really understand the concept of naturally evolving, grown-up love relationships between adult men and women. I know there are happy couples here who have the natural wisdom to know (or sth. kk), but the societal constructs are (1) immature/half-hearted "dating", where two people meet up once in a while when their other commitments and their busy schedule allows it, dress up to take pretty pics, maybe engage in some "skinship" but please behind closed doors, and then part ways again and live their separate lives. Those relationships are considered "romantic" but don't really officially exist and have no real place in someone's family and professional life and often people don't even meet each others' friends. And then there is (2) marriage, where two people who usually didn't live independently before and never got to know each other properly because of (1) have to live together AND start adulting AND be what society tells them a "husband" and a "wife" is AND suddenly see all the small or sometimes big lies they have told each other until then, because of course you have to show your "best self" while dating in order to be considered "marriage material". And since there is no real concept of marrying someone because you really get along with them in real life (since you don't really share "real life" before marriage), lots of people choose their partner based on their "ideal type", their "husband/wife checklist", their appreanace and money and status, their parents' and society's opinion, or their life plan where that person fits in really nicely, and figure out much later that when things don't go according to the idea they made up in their head, then they don't actually LIKE their spouse enough to go through thick and thin with them. Add to this that men (and to an extent women as well) are still often evaluated in terms of the money they bring into the marriage or earn, and then the stupid male culture of staying out of the house as much as possible because spending time with your wife and family is somehow considered "boring" and "not manly" and not necessary while drinking with the bosses is really important (and having a mistress for the occasional romance when you feel like it is still very much accepted) - that's a very bad culture for happy marriages. What the official stats maybe don't show is that there are in fact more and more young couples who just live together and don't care about marriage or live together before marriage - but even the parents very often don't know, so this is not really changing the official culture (yet). And yes, all the men blaming women and women blaming men for, I don't know, pretty much everything, is not helping either...wonder where this is going...

10 (+14 / -4)

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