SEOUL, Jan. 8 (Korea Bizwire) — Amid South Korea’s rapid decrease in the number of marriages, the rate of unmarried people in their mid-30s and under has already surpassed that of Japan, which has already experienced a surge in celibacy.
A new study conducted by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs reports that rate of unmarried individuals has rapidly increased in South Korea for the last 20 years.
The rate of unmarried men in their mid-20s jumped from 64 percent in 1995 to 90 percent in 2015.
During the same period, the number of unmarried people aged 30 to 34 has risen significantly, from 19 percent to 56 percent. Other age groups show similar increases.
The rate of unmarried women also shows a similar tendency. Specifically, the share of unmarried women aged 25 to 29 rose from 30 percent to 77 percent. For those aged 30 to 34, the rate rose from 7 percent to 38 percent.
In Japan, where the social environment is similar to South Korea and where significant social phenomena often occur earlier than in South Korea, the rate of unmarried men and women in most age groups was higher than that of South Korea until 2005.
However, since 2015, South Korea has surpassed Japan’s rate of unmarried individuals. In particular, the rate of unmarried men aged 25 to 29 was 17 percent higher than that of Japan.
While the marriage rate is dropping significantly, fewer people are engaging in relationships.
According to a 2012 survey, only 33 percent of men and 37 percent of women were in a relationship. This result can be interpreted as a sign that South Korea is following in Japan’s footsteps when it comes to marriage.
There is a growing tendency to equate romantic relationships with marriage. Thus, people give up or have difficulties initiating a romantic relationship for they have to get a job and be chosen by the opposite gender.
Finances also play an important role in relationships. The rate of people in a relationship was high for those with jobs, and men with high incomes were more likely to date.
South Korea is dominated by tacit norms that people don’t give birth without getting married first and romance being a precondition for marriage.
Therefore, the government needs to push for policies that guarantee economic stability to help young adults to get married.
D. M. Park (firstname.lastname@example.org)