More Men Marry Older Women

More and more younger men marry older women in a reversal of traditional age relations between couples. Statistics Korea on Sunday said first marriages where the bridegroom is younger than the bride stood at 41,300 last year, a record since statistics began in 1981.

Such marriages increased from 39,500 in 2011, reaching almost the same level as marriages between couples of the same age (41,400). The number of marriages between older men and younger women decreased apace from 176,800 in 2011 to 172,800 last year.

More people opt to marry later in life due to factors like the recession and changing social structures.

Last year the average age at first marriage was 32.2 for men and 29.6 for women, up 0.1 and 0.2 from a year earlier. The average age at second marriage was 46.8 for men and 42.5 for women, up 0.1 and 0.2.

Divorces among middle-aged and elderly couples who had been married for at least 20 years are on the rise.

The 115,300 couples who divorced last year had lived together for 14.1 years on average.

The proportion of divorces among the middle-aged or older couples soared from 17.8 percent in 2003 to 28.1 percent last year. Couples who divorced after over 30 years of marriage rose 8.4 percent on-year to 9,400 last year, and 1.8 times compared to a decade ago.

International marriages between Korean men and foreign women dwindled 11.3 percent from 20,600 in 2012 to 18,300 because of tougher visa rules for marriage migration.

englishnews@chosun.com / Apr. 23, 2014 13:12 KST