Most Young Couples Live in Straitened Circumstances

  • By Kim Jung-hoon

    December 10, 2021 12:41

    Most newly married couples live in straitened circumstances even though they have no children, according to the latest government data.

    Nine out of every 10 young couples are in debt, and half of them owe banks more than W100 million (US$1=W1,177). Also, five out of 10 have no children and six out of 10 do not own their home.

    Statistics Korea said Thursday there were 1.18 million couples in Korea as of November last year who had been married for less than five years, and numbers are dwindling. The drop was especially marked last year, reflecting a decline of weddings in lockdown.

    Some 87.5 percent of the couples had taken out bank loans. Their median loan balance was W132.6 million, up 18.3 percent from the previous year, but their average annual earnings rose only 4.9 percent to W59.9 million. That means their debt grew much faster than their earnings.

    Only 42.1 percent owned their own homes, down 0.8 percentage points. But 52 percent were double-income earners, up 2.9 percent. The average annual income of young double-income couples was W77.1 million, around 1.7 times more than single-income couples'.

    Some 44.5 percent had no children, up two percentage points from the previous year and up from just 35.5 percent in 2016.

    That brought the average number of children of young couples to just 0.76 for single-income couples and 0.6 for double-income ones. Young couples who owned their own home had slightly more children at 0.76 on average compared to 0.62 for those who did not.

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