Women Take Lead in Late-Life Divorce, Remarriage

      January 12, 2011 07:27

      The increasing life span of Koreans indicates that lifestyles will change in the coming years. In a Gallup poll of 1,000 people over 30 commissioned by the Chosun Ilbo, almost half of the respondents (44.2 percent) said they are happy for elderly people to marry again. And the younger the respondents and the higher their education and income, the more they were inclined to support this view.

      Once considered taboo, remarriage among the elderly is becoming increasingly acceptable. Lee Woong-jin of matchmaking firm Sunoo said, "More and more couples marry not because of the need to support themselves but because they are emotionally attracted to each other."

      But while an increasing number of elderly couples are going on honeymoon with new spouses, the number of divorces has also increased in this age group. In 2009, there were 1,065 cases in which men over 65 years of age remarried, and 641 for women. That marked a 1.8 fold rise for men compared to 10 years ago but a 2.7 fold increase for women. As for divorce, there were 4,379 cases for men and 1,739 cases for women, marking a 3.3 fold and 4.6 fold increase over the past decade. That means more elderly people are getting divorced than getting married.

      Kim Hye-young of the Korean Women's Development Institute said, "A common factor in both remarriages and divorces among the elderly is that women usually take the lead." As Koreans live longer, expectations of happiness are rising among the elderly, and women, whose voices have become stronger, are usually playing a leading role.

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