December 19, 2009 09:18
One in every five men is likely to have trouble finding a spouse by 2014, a study suggests, when the ratio of men to women at the ideal marriage age will reach a record high.
The study by the Gyeonggi Province Family and Women's Research Institute put the ideal age for marriage at between 29 and 33 for men, and between 26 and 30 for women.
The number of men in the age group stands at 1.98 million this year, some 70,000 more than women (1.91 million), but that gap will widen to 134,200 next year and reach a record 381,300 in 2014, the institute forecast.
It attributed the imbalance to the country's traditional preference for boys. It was the most conspicuous among the third and fourth child in a family. The overall gender ratio stood at 106.4 boys to 100 girls last year, within the normal range of between 103 and 107. The ratio for the first and second child also fell in the normal range with 104.9 and 105.6 boys to 100 girls.
But for the third and fourth child, the institute said it was an "open secret" that couples have pre-natal sex screening and sex-selective abortions. "In addition, a continued growth in the number of single women over the proper age for marriage is making the situation worse," it added.
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