Fewer Koreans Marry Foreigners

  • By Ahn Jun-yong

    November 17, 2016 12:57

    Mixed marriages have declined for the fifth straight year. Some 22,462 Koreans married foreigners in 2015, down 7.9 percent from 2014, according to Statistics Korea on Wednesday.

    Cross-cultural marriages made up 11.2 percent of all marriages in 2008 but are now down to 7.4 percent. The trend is mainly due to tightened curbs on mail-order bride businesses and stricter rules for marriage visas.

    The average age of the Korean groom was 35.4 compared to 27.9 for foreign brides. In marriages between Koreans the age gap is much slimmer at 32.4 to 30.1. In 37.7 percent of the mixed marriages the man was at least 10 years or older than the woman.

    Most cross-cultural marriages occurred in rural North Jeolla Province with 8.4 percent of all marriages, followed by Jeju (8.2 percent) and South Jeolla Province (8.1 percent). Men in rural communities often find it more difficult to snare a Korean woman.

    The biggest group of women were from China with 27.9 percent, followed by Vietnam with 23.1 percent and the Philippines with 4.7 percent.

    Marriages where the bride is Korean and the groom foreign are much rarer, but in the biggest group of foreign grooms were Chinese, followed by Americans and Japanese.

    Divorces between cross-cultural couples and children born to them have also declined. They only stayed married for an average of 6.9 years, and four out of five couples broke up in less than 10 years.

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