December 18, 2023
SEOUL – Just over a quarter of South Korea’s 20-something women said marriage is something one should do in 2022, as young people’s inclination to tie the knot continues to fall dramatically here, a report found Friday.
Statistics Korea conducted a study on South Korean society, based on a variety of survey data, and found that only 27.5 percent of women in their 20s have a positive view toward marriage. Positive views on marriage among these young women were the lowest out of all age groups, and significantly lower than 41.9 percent for 20-something men.
In comparison, 52.9 percent of women in their 20s reacted positively toward marriage in 2008, showing a major decline in 14 years.
About 31.8 percent of female respondents in their 30s said marriage was a positive thing, also down drastically from 51.5 percent in the 2008 data.
Women across all age groups tended to view marriage less positively than their male counterparts. For both genders, older age groups tended to react more positively toward marriage than the younger groups — 74.9 percent of men in their 60s said people should get married, while 68.7 percent of the women in their 60s thought so.
Young men’s propensity to favor marriage, while not as low as that of women, also dropped drastically from 2008 to 2022. About 71.9 percent of men in their 20s reacted positively toward marriage in 2008, but only 41.9 percent did last year.
Among the men in the 30-39 group, from 2008 to 2022, those who view marriage positively dropped from 69.7 percent to 48.7 percent.
The biggest reason the Koreans surveyed gave for avoiding marriage was the “lack of funds” across all age groups: 32.7 percent of those in their 20s, 33.7 percent of those in their 30s, 23.8 percent of 40-somethings, 25.7 percent of people in their 50s, and 30.3 percent of those in the 60 and above age bracket said they are not getting married because they do not have enough money.
The report also showed that young people have grown fonder of non-traditional ways of living from 2015 to 2020. In 2015, 39.1 percent of the people in their 20s and 30s viewed living alone as a positive thing, and the number grew to 47.7 percent in 2020.
The percentage of 20-somethings and 30-somethings that viewed living together without being married positively jumped from 25.9 percent to 40.6 percent over the same five years. Positive perceptions toward couples not having kids went from 27.7 percent to 44.1 percent among the same age group, while 20.7 percent of them viewed having a child without being married positively — compared to 11.1 percent in 2015.