On April 23, the National Statistical Office of Korea (NSO) released their “2014 Marriage and Divorce Statistics,”and it seems like 2014 has hit the lowest marriage rate ever.
The number of marriages in Korea in 2014 totaled to 305,500, which is 17,300 (5.4 percent) less than that of 2013. Now, most men and women seem to marry during the start of their 30s. The average age for males having their first marriages closed in on age 32.4, and age 29.8 for females, which is 0.2 years older than what was recorded in 2013. If compared to the statistics 10 years ago, men’s first-marriages are now delayed 1.9 years while women’s are delayed 2.3 years.
Yoon Yeon Ok, the head of NSO’s demographic trends, stated, “The population of people at their optimal age has decreased and is continuing to decrease as the perception that not marrying is acceptable in society is increasing. This is also because of the number of interracial marriages have decreased.”
Interracial marriage rates in 2014 had a count of 23,300, which is 2,600 (10.2 percent) less than that of 2013. This statistical data applies to 15 percent of the whole decrease in marriage rates. This shrinkage is mainly due to the fact that ever since 2010, The Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family enacted policies to strengthen the process of validating international marriages, such as the reinforcement in issuing marriage visas to interracial couples. This is so that there are less corruption and illegal issues arising from internationally married families.
Kim Young Ran, a researcher in Korean Women’s Development Institute, stated, “People are delaying their time of marriage and are only dating due to uncertainty of employment and stable living, coupled with having complications with family and friends. In order to increase the marriage rate, we need to come up with innovative steps to make the thought of marriage more approachable in society.”