SEOUL, Aug. 24 (Korea Bizwire) – Couples in which the woman is older than the man are no longer rare. It has become a very common phenomenon.
According to a report titled ‘Lives of Women in Seoul Seen through Statistics’ issued by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, among those in their first marriages, the portion of couples in which the woman is older than the man exceeded the portion of couples of the same age for the first time since 1991.
For couples in their first marriage, the portion of those in which the man is older than the woman decreased from 72.5 percent in 2004 to 68.6 percent last year. The portion of couples the same age didn’t change much (15.1 percent in 2004, 15.6 percent in 2014), but the portion of couples in which the woman is older than the man increased from 12.3 percent in 2004 to 15.8 percent in 2014.
The average age for first marriages also rose. The average age was 28.3 among women in 2004, but 30.7 now, showing a jump of 2.4 years. The average age of men at their first marriage also showed a 1.9-year increase, from 30.9 in 2004 to 32.8 in 2014.
The results seem to be related to changes in perspective related to marriage. More women tend to think of marriage as an option, with 45.9 percent of women above 13 feeling that way, exceeding those who answered that ‘it’s good to get married’ (38.9 percent). Only 11.2 percent answered that ‘marriage is a must’.
Men showed a similar tendency, but showed the highest portion among those who answered that ‘it’s good to get married’ (45.4 percent).
These results were reflected in a drop in the birthrate. Other than 2007, when one hundred thousand children were born, the number of newborns was under one hundred thousand during the past 10 years, recording an all-time low since 1981 last year (84,000).
The birthrate in Seoul last year was 0.98, which means that less than 1 child was born among fertile women (ages 15 to 49).
Seoul has become a low birthrate society since 1998. Researchers explain that the decreased birthrate results from a decrease in the number of fertile women, an increase in the number of unmarried people, a growing burden when it comes to raising a child, and a change in values among women.
The population of working women increased 11.8 percent compared to the 2,279,000 in 2004. The number of working women in their 50s reached 492,000, which exceeded the number of working women in their 20s (482,000). The number of working women in their 60s also reached an all-time high at 238,000 people.
City representatives suggest that there were a number of different explanations behind the phenomenon. “It seems like it occurred for complex reasons. The baby boom generation, born between 1955 to 1963, are now in their 50s, and with a decrease of people in their 20s due to low birth rates, and high unemployment among young people, there are strong factors pushing the birthrate lower.”
By Francine Jung (firstname.lastname@example.org)