SEOUL, March 23 (Korea Bizwire) – In 2016, there were 20,600 international marriages between South Koreans and foreign nationals, the latest data from Statistics Korea shows. Although the number was a 3.2 percent decline from 2015, international marriages accounted for 7.3 percent of all marriages last year, up slightly by 0.3 percent.
Korean men were apparently more fond of foreign partners then Korean women, with 14,800 and 5,800 marriages last year for each gender, respectively. For Korean women, there was a big year-on-year decline of 12.6 percent, while marriages with foreign brides rose by 1 percent.
Vietnamese brides were most popular, accounting for 36.3 percent of all international marriages with foreign women, followed by Chinese (28.3 percent), Filipinos (5.8 percent), Japanese (5.7 percent), Thai (4.9 percent), Americans (3.8 percent) and Cambodians (3.1 percent).
Marriages with Vietnamese and Thai brides saw big increases last year of 15.6 percent and 32.6 percent, respectively, the report said.
On the other hand, Chinese grooms topped the list for Korean women at 25.4 percent. Americans (23.9 percent), Vietnamese (9.8 percent), Canadians (6.9 percent), Japanese (6.6 percent) and Australians (3.4 percent) followed.
Vietnamese grooms also made big progress this year with a 30.8 percent increase, while Japanese, Australian and American grooms saw significant drops of 52.8 percent, 22.4 percent and 14.6 percent, respectively.
The percentage of international marriages (relative to all marriages in the area) was the highest for Jeju at 9.4 percent. The island saw its number of international marriages soar last year by 23.2 percent.
A total of 7,700 international couples parted ways last year, accounting for 7.1 percent of all divorces in the country. The number was a 6.9-percent year-on-year drop. In terms of nationality, Chinese men and women took up the highest percentage of divorcees at 44.7 percent and 48.2 percent.
Meanwhile, South Korea saw its number of marriages fall to lowest figure last year in more than four decades at 281,600, with more and more young people delaying marriage amid the prolonged economic downturn.
The average age of marriage for men was 32.8, and for women, 30.1.
By Joseph Shin (firstname.lastname@example.org)