More Korean women think marriage, childbirth unnecessary: Survey

The study suggested that the importance of marriage and childbirth appear to be connected to respondents' perception of Korean society.

Lee Jung-Youn

Lee Jung-Youn

The Korea Herald



February 27, 2023

SEOUL – More than a half of women said that marriage and childbirth are not an essential part of their lives, a survey showed Sunday, suggesting a growing trend of women defying the expectations of traditional gender roles in Korean society.

According to a survey by the Korean Association for Social Welfare Studies, only 4 percent of the female respondents said marriage and childbirth are “mandatory,” while 12.9 percent of male respondents answered the same.

In the survey conducted on 281 single men and women between the ages of 20 to 34, the ratio of women who participated was 45 percent.

The study suggested that the importance of marriage and childbirth appear to be connected to respondents’ perception of Korean society.

Respondents who spoke highly of their quality of life and society tended to think marriage and childbirth are “important,” the study said in its analysis of the survey. This implies that respondents with higher social trust and who believe that the community they live in is capable of providing more opportunities and equality tended view marriage and childbirth as attractive options, according to the association.

A separate study also showed that fewer people, both women and men, think of supporting one’s parents as a mandatory duty.

According to a survey conducted by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs on a total of 7,865 households between March and July 2022, about 21 percent of respondents said that children should live with their parents and provide care, down from 52.6 percent 15 years ago.

The percentage of respondents who agreed with the statement that “young children should be taken care of by their mothers at home” has also gradually decreased over the past 15 years.

The percentage of respondents who said mothers should take care of their children was 64.7 percent in the 2007 survey, but decreased to 39.6 percent in 2022.

Unlike in the past, when families carried the burden of supporting the elderly and children, the report suggested that more people see society and the state as responsible for providing care for these groups.

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