Report: Sharp rise in international marriages

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Report: Sharp rise in international marriages

International marriages between South Koreans and foreigners accounted for 10.8 percent of all newlyweds in the country in 2009, up more than three-fold from nine years earlier, a government report showed yesterday.

The Korean Social Trends report by Statistics Korea showed there were 33,300 international marriages last year, a sharp increase from 11,605 in 2000.

“The increase is due in part to more men in rural communities seeking foreign wives since local women prefer to live in cities after marriage,” the state agency said.

Marriages involving a Korean groom and foreign bride accounted for 75.5 percent of international marriages, the report said. That’s up from 59.8 percent in 2000 and 72.5 percent in 2005. According to the report, the average age difference between a Korean man and foreign bride is now 11.1 years, up from 6.9 years nine years ago.

The age gap is higher than the 2.2 years tallied for the average Korean groom marrying a Korean bride in 2009. The difference in age between a Korean bride and a foreign groom was 3.7 years.

The report also found that only 36 percent of grown children were supporting their aged parents, down from 70.7 percent in 2002, with more people calling on the government to take charge of looking after senior citizens.

On child-rearing issues, 47.6 percent of South Korean women surveyed said despite the overall increase in day-care centers, taking care of their children was a burden in keeping their jobs. This is a gain from 29.3 percent who said child care hindered employment in 1998.

There were 510,000 menial foreign laborers in the country last year, up from 110,250 in 2001, with the number of people employed in higher-paying professional jobs reaching 40,698, up from 21,710 eight years earlier.

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