Fewer married couples are earning dual income

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Fewer married couples are earning dual income


The number of dual-income households fell for the first time in four years as Korea faces a rapidly aging population and decline in good jobs, Statistics Korea reported on Thursday.

There were 5.45 million households earning two incomes as of October 2017, accounting for 44.6 percent of the country’s 12 million married households. That’s a 0.9-percentage point drop from 45.5 percent in 2016 and the lowest percentage since 2013.

The statistics agency cited an addition of 34,000 married couples as one of the reasons why the percentage fell, but the number of dual-income families also saw a sharp drop of 1.6 percent from the previous year.

“The number of young married couples has been falling,” a Statistics Korea official said, “while households with married couples in their 60s who can no longer actively participate in the economy have increased. Restructuring in the shipbuilding and heavy industries as well as the significant drop of Chinese tourists in protest of Thaad (an American missile shield)have also contributed to the fall in dual-income households.”

Every age group except those in their 30s saw a drop in dual-income households.

Those between 40 and 49 accounted for the most, with 52.1 percent of married couples making two incomes. This was a drop from 52.7 percent in 2016.

The second-largest group was those between 50 and 64, which accounted for 48.7 percent, a drop from 49.8 percent in 2016. The statistics agency measures the older demographic based on the assumption that most people retire at 65.

Those between 30 and 39 saw 47.3 percent of married couples both working, up from 45.7 percent the previous year.

Among married couples, those with children younger than 19 accounted for 48.6 percent, up 0.2 percentage points from the previous year.

BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]
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