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More young Koreans can take or leave marriage

Apr 19,2017
The number of young Koreans who see marriage as an option, not a requirement, continues to rise significantly, recently surpassing 50 percent.

The government said Tuesday that 51.4 percent of Koreans between 13 and 24 said marriage is not mandatory. Those who agreed with that statement rose rapidly from 37 percent in 2008 and 44.4 percent in 2014.

This was considerably higher than their parents’ generation, or Koreans ages 50 to 69, with only 32.9 percent believing marriage is not mandatory.

“Young Koreans who agree with the idea of marriage continue to fall from 57 percent in 2008 to 38.8 percent in 2016 and the data showed that the number of parents who believe it is a must continues to drop, while those who believe marriage is a choice increased,” said Yoon Yeon-ok, a director at Statistics Korea.

The statistics showed that young Koreans are more liberal when compared to their parents’ generation.

A majority of young Koreans also believed it is acceptable to live with their partners before marriage. The statistics agency said 61.7 percent of young Koreans said they could live with a partner before getting married, while only 34.5 percent of their parents’ generation said they could.

Seventy-seven percent of young Koreans said they could marry a foreigner, a significant jump from the 66.2 percent who responded similarly in 2008.

“Young Korean females were more open to getting married to foreigners compared to their counterparts, while older Korean males also were open to the idea,” said Yoon.

About half of young Koreans said they are stressed and many said work was the cause, followed by school.

Smoking and drinking rates among middle and high school students continued to fall, the statistics agency said.

Among young Korean students, smoking rates dropped from 12.8 percent in 2006 to 6.3 percent in 2016. Drinking rates fell from 28.6 percent to 15 percent in the same period.

Suicide remained the biggest cause of death for Koreans aged 9 to 24, a fact that has been consistent since 2007. According to the data, 7.2 percent of deaths in that age range were from suicide, followed by traffic accidents at 4 percent and cancer with 2.9 percent.

“Even though suicide was the highest cause of death starting from 2007, recent data showed that the number of those dying from suicide dropped starting in 2012,” said Yoon.

Meanwhile, most young Koreans surveyed in a poll said the purpose of college is to get good jobs. More than half, or 51.1 percent, of young Koreans in 2016 agreed with that statement. Another 38.6 percent said college improved skills and abilities. The 51.1 percent is higher than the 48.6 percent recorded in 2014.

“More men said that they study to get good jobs compared to women,” said Yoon.

In another poll, the statistics agency found that 57.7 percent of young Koreans eat breakfast regularly but only 35 percent of them work out regularly.


BY KIM YOUNG-NAM [kim.youngnam@joongang.co.kr]


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