Marriage Rate Continues to Drop

      March 25, 2010 09:02

      The rate of newly-registered marriages fell to an all-time low in 2009 amid the economic slump. The number of marriages per 1,000 persons stood at 6.2 last year, down 0.4 from 2008 and the lowest since statistics began in 1970.

      The average age for first-time marriages rose as more people are choosing to marry later in life. Men married at an average age of 31.6 last year, up 0.2 years from a year earlier, and women at 28.7, up 0.4 years.

      According to data released Wednesday by Statistics Korea, a total of 310,000 couples got married in 2009, down 18,000 from 2008. "With the adverse economic conditions, more people are postponing marriage or cannot afford to marry," it said.

      The number of those in their 20s tying the knot plummeted among both genders. Some 98,000 men in their late 20s wedded in 2009, down 10,000 from a year earlier and the largest drop among all age groups. The same trend was observed among women in their late 20s, with the number falling 12,000 to 144,000, also the biggest plunge among age groups.

      The number of marriages to foreigners varied according to gender and location. Marriages of Korean women to foreign men rose 117 cases from the previous year to 8,158, while the number of Korean men marrying foreign brides dropped 3,000 cases on-year to 25,100.

      South Jeolla Province, North Jeolla Province and South Chungcheong Province saw the highest rates of international marriages.

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