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The number of marriages in South Korea fell to a new low last year as the population thins and more young people think of marriage as an option.
According to data released by Statistics Korea on Thursday, the number of new marriages came to 192,000 in 2022, down 0.4 percent from a year ago. It is the lowest figure since the agency began compiling related data in 1970. The annual number also fell for the 11th straight year.
The number of marriages fell to below 400,000 in 1997 after hitting 435,000 in 1996. In 2016, the figure fell to below 300,000 and 200,000 in 2021.
“The decline is partly due to a shrink in the population aged between 25 and 49,” said Lim Young-il, an official from Statistics Korea. “The perception towards marriage has also changed.”
The decline was the steepest among people in their 20s as unlike in the past more of them put work or other priorities over marriage. The figure for the grooms and brides in their late 20s fell 8.4 percent and 7.2 percent, respectively.
There were each 40.3 and 41.3 marriages in every 1,000 men and women aged in their early 30s.
The average age of first marriages for men and women went up by 0.4 year and 0.2 year from a year ago to 33.7 years old and 31.3 years old respectively in 2022, the highest so far. From 10 years ago, the figures were up 1.6 years for men and 1.9 years for women.
The number of divorces also fell 8.3 percent to 93,000 in 2022. Gray divorces, however, by couples that had more than 30 years of marriage, surged 81 percent to 15,651 last year from 10 years ago.
Couples with up to 4 years of marriage accounted for 18.6 percent of the entire divorces, followed by 5 to 9 years with 18 percent and 30 years and more with 16.8 percent, data showed.
By Lee Hee-jo and Han Yubin
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]