[Photo by Yonhap]
Six out of 10 South Koreans prefer cohabiting over marriage and three think it’s okay to have children out of wedlock to underscore the rapid changes in family concept in the traditionally conservative Korea society grappling with the world’s worst birth rate and fastest aging population.
According to the 2020 social survey conducted by Statistics Korea on about 38,000 people aged 13 or older between May 13 and 28, 59.7 percent responded that they are okay with idea of couples living together without getting married, up from 45.9 percent in 2012, 46.6 percent in 2014, 48.0 percent in 2016, and 56.4 percent in 2018.
It also showed that 30.7 percent of those surveyed believe they can have children without tying the knot, up from 22.4 percent in 2012, 22.5 percent in 2014, 24.2 percent in 2016, and 30.3 percent in 2018.
The survey showed that 51.2 percent of the respondents believe marriage is a must, up 3.1 percentage points from two years ago, while 41.4 percent an option and 4.4 percent are against marriage.
By gender, 22.4 percent of women believed marriage is a must while 40.8 percent of men. The survey also showed that 68 percent of the respondents believe couples should have children when they get married, down 1.6 percentage points from two years ago.
Nearly eight out of 10 surveyed responded that Korea’s wedding culture was excessive in terms of costs and procedure.
When it comes to division of household labor, 62.5 percent of the respondents said house chores should be fairly divided between men and women, up 3.4 percentage points from two years ago. In reality, however, only 20 percent were the case where couples share house work. Only 20.7 percent of men and 20.2 percent of women said they are fairly sharing house chores.
The survey showed that 75.6 percent of husband and 76.8 percent of wives responded house work is led by women.
In the age group of 19 to 29, meanwhile, 43.3 percent of men and 43.4 percent of women said house work should be fairly shared between the two.
When it comes to caring for parents’ later years, 61.6 percent of respondents said they should be looked after together by the family, government, and society, up 13.3 percentage points from two years ago. There were answers (22.0 percent) that parents should be cared by the family alone, they should be looked after themselves (12.9 percent), and by the government and society (3.5 percent), all down from two years ago.
The survey, meanwhile, showed that six out of 10 university students said they were supported by their families in terms of tuition.
As of the first semester, 62.2 percent of university students paid tuition with support from their family including parents, up 2.5 percentage points from two years ago. It showed that 24.8 percent of students paid tuition through scholarships, 7.3 percent by receiving loans, and 5.7 percent by their own earnings.
Of the respondents, 64.1 percent said education fees bear a burden on the family’s economy, down 0.3 percentage point from two years ago. However, 67.2 percent of the respondents answered that private tuition fees excluding school expenses were a burden, up 2 percentage points from 2018.
Only 59.3 percent of the respondents in middle school and high school were satisfied with their school life. The survey showed that 41.1 percent of those surveyed experienced online schooling over the past one year – particularly high among teenagers at 90.9 percent.
By Lee Eun-joo
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]