The average age of Koreans marrying for the first time reached an all-time high last year, and three out of 10 couples involved an older woman and a younger man. The average age when Koreans married for the first time was 31.8 for men and 28.9 for women last year, according to Statistics Korea on Tuesday.
Men married 2.5 years later than in 2000 and women 2.4 years. The average age was the highest in Seoul at 32.2 years for men and 29.8 for women.
The number of couples involving a younger man and an older woman reached a new high of 37,900 last year, almost 10,000 more than 10 years ago. Among all couples who tied the knot last year, 14.9 percent involved a younger man and an older woman, accounting for 1.5 out of every 10 couples. The number of married couples of the same age also increased 3.2 percent from a decade ago, accounting for 16 percent.
As an increasing number of couples choose to divorce later in life, the average age of divorce and second marriage also rose. Last year, the average age of divorce was 45 for men and 41.1 for women, up 4.9 and 4.6 years from 10 years ago.
A decade ago, 6.5 percent of men and 3.1 percent of women aged more than 50 were divorced, but last year that rose to 14.1 percent of men and 8.9 percent women. The average age of second marriages was 46.1 for men and 41.6 for women, up four years.
Meanwhile, the number of divorces fell 5.8 percent last year bringing the nationwide divorce rate to a 10-year low. Statistics show that the number of divorces per 1,000 Koreans stood at 4.7 last year, down by 0.4 from 2009.
Suh Woon-joo of Statistics Korea, said, "With the implementation of a mandatory deliberation period for couples seeking divorce, it has become more difficult to be granted a divorce, while the effects of the recovering economy also seem to have played a role." That the number of marriages is increasing after a three-year decline "appears to have been due partially to couples getting married last year after postponing their weddings due to the 2008 global financial crisis," he added.