Divorce at New Low as Few Get Married

  • By Hwang Ji-yoon

    March 17, 2023 12:25

    The number of marriages fell below 200,000 for a second year in a row last year to the lowest level since records began and people decided either to marry later in life or not at all. 
    The trend has been going on so long that divorces have now also hit a historic low of fewer than 100,000 for the first time in 25 years.
    A woman passes by a bridal shop in Seoul on Thursday. /News1
    According to Statistics Korea, 191,700 couples tied the knot last year. Marriage has been on the decline for 11 years and hit a fresh record low for the fourth consecutive year. 
    Between 1990 and 1999 about 400,000 couples got married each year, but that fell to below 300,000 in 2016 and then the decline accelerated.
    The average age of first marriage increased to a staid 33.7 for men and 31.3 for women, the oldest on record. In Seoul the age of first marriage was the highest in the country at 34.2 and 32.2. 
    Fewer married couples meant that only 93,200 got divorced last year, below 100,000 for the first time since 1997. The average age of divorce was 49.4 for men and 46.6 for women. 
    Divorces had stood between 100,000 and 130,000 per year since 1997, but they have been declining since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, perhaps because financial uncertainties forced many couples to stick together.  
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