Number of marriages in S.Korea hits all-time low in 2021

The number of South Koreans getting married tumbled to a new all-time low in 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic and young people’s changing attitude toward marriage, government data showed on Thursday.

The number of couples tying the knot in Asia’s fourth-largest economy came to 193,000 last year, down 9.8 per cent from the previous year, according to the data from Statistics Korea.

The number is the lowest since 1970, when the statistical agency began compiling related data, and represents the 10th straight year of shrinkage, reports Yonhap News Agency.

Yet the on-year gain was lower than the previous year’s 10.7 per cent increase, which marked the first double-digit decline in 23 years.

Last year’s drop came as more young South Koreans are opting to distance themselves from life’s three major milestones — dating, marriage and having children — because they cannot find decent jobs amid a prolonged economic slowdown.

The Covid-19 outbreak is widely believed to have led to many cancelled or delayed marriages.

The latest data also showed that the average age of South Korean men getting married reached 33.4 years last year, up 0.1 year from a year earlier.

The median marrying age of first-time brides stood at 31.1 years, up 0.3 year from the previous year.

The number of South Koreans marrying foreign spouses stood at 13,000 in 2021, down 14.6 per cent from a year earlier and accounting for 6.8 per cent of the country’s total marriages.

Meanwhile, the number of divorces in South Korea reached 102,000 last year, down 4.5 per cent from the previous year and marking the second straight year of on-year falls.

Couples who were married for less than five years accounted for the largest portion of the total at 18.8 per cent, followed by those married for 30 years and longer with 17.6 per cent and couples married for five to nine years with 17.1 per cent.

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