More Koreans opt out marriage partly due to economic factors

2019.01.09 09:45:59 | 2019.01.09 10:44:38

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Staying single has become a trend across the age in Korea with few men and women in 20s walking down the aisle.

According to a report released by Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs on Tuesday, nearly 90 percent of men aged between 25 and 29 remained unmarried in 2015, up from 64 percent in 1995. The figures also jumped for men in the 30-34 age group from 19 percent to 56 percent during the same period, 7 percent to 33 percent for the 35-39 age group and 3 percent to 23 percent for the 40-44 age group.

The report also showed 77 percent of women aged 25-29 were unmarried in 2015, up from 30 percent in 1995, while for 30-34 age group up from 7 percent to 38 percent, 35-39 age group 3 percent to 19 percent, and 40-44 age group 2 percent to 11 percent.

Korea’s close neighbor Japan that shares similar social and cultural experiences started to face the growing single living trend before Korea, but the number of people opting out marriage in Korea is growing at a faster rate than in Japan.

From 1995 to 2005, unmarried people in most age groups accounted for higher percentage of overall population in Japan versus Korea, but in 2015, unmarried men accounted for 73 percent of all men aged 25-29 in Japan, 47 percent for those aged between 30 and 34. The figures were 62 percent and 35 percent for the same age groups for unmarried Japanese women.

The Korean report showed that the rate of unmarried men aged 25-29 in Japan was 17 percentage points lower than that of Korea in 2015.

One of reasons making young Koreans delay or opt out marriage is an economic reason. The study showed that more young Koreans with jobs were in a relationship as compared to those without jobs, and men with higher income were more active in dating than those with lower income.

Korea’s job market is at its worst since the crisis-hit period. The country lost 909.000 jobs in November, crossing the 900,000-mark for the first time since 1999 in the wake of the Asian financial crisis. Unemployment rate reached 3.2 percent, the highest November figure since 2009, with those in their 20s, 30s and 40s struggling to secure permanent quality jobs.

By Kim Hye-soon and Lee Eun-joo

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