December 13, 2022 11:32
Fewer and fewer Korean couples are tying the knot, and about half of young couples have no children.
The number of couples married for five years or less shrank by 82,000 to 1.1 million last year, according to Statistics Korea. Their income increased as many of them are double-income couples, but fewer couples own homes and more owe money to banks.
Their numbers dropped more steeply than ever to the lowest on record. The reason was that only 192,000 couples had tied the knot over the previous 12 months of the coronavirus pandemic, down 10.4 percent from a year earlier.
And only 54.2 percent had babies, down 1.3 percentage points, with 0.66 children per couple on average, down 0.02.
Even in their fourth year of marriage the average number of babies per couple was a mere 0.86, and it barely exceeded one (1.05) in their fifth year of marriage.
Their average annual income grew 6.9 percent to W64 million, hitting an all-time high (US$1=W1,307). But the proportion of homeowners stood at a mere 42 percent, down 0.1 percentage points, while a whopping 89.1 percent were in debt to banks, up 1.6 percentage points.
Homeownership seems to have had a direct effect on couples' decision to have children. Some 59.9 percent of young couples who owned homes had babies, 9.8 percentage points more than those without their own home. The average number of babies per homeowner stood at 0.73, compared to 0.6 for the others.
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