Marriages fell to a record low last year. Statistics Korea on Wednesday said 281,600 couples got married last year, down seven percent from the year before and the lowest since 1974 when 259,100 couples tied the knot.

It was the first time since 1977 that the number fell below 300,000. Only 5.5 out of every 1,000 people tied the knot last year. The average age at first marriage climbed to 32.8 years for men and 30.1 for women, up 0.2 and 0.1 year.

Statistics Korea attributes the decline to the shrinking population at the prime marrying age of 25 to 35 and a rise in the number who put off marriage due to financial straits.

Couples in which the bride was older than the groom accounted for only 7.3 percent of marrying couples 20 years ago, but that rose to 11.4 percent last year.

December was the month with the most weddings at 10.1 percent and September had the fewest at 6.3 percent.

Multi-racial couples accounted for 7.3 percent of all marriages or 20,600, of which 36.3 percent involved Vietnamese brides and 28.3 percent Chinese. When it comes to foreign husbands, Chinese ranked the highest with 25.4 percent, followed by Americans with 23.9 percent.

A total of 107,300 couples divorced last year, down 1.7 percent from 2015. Among the divorced couples, the highest proportion or 30.4 percent had lived together for more than 20 years. Read this article in Korean

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