Less than half of Koreans say marriage is necessary

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Less than half of Koreans say marriage is necessary

Fewer than half of Koreans think marriage is a necessity as the country struggles with an alarmingly low birth rate and more people are getting married later, data showed Tuesday.

A survey of 39,000 people over 13 years old by Statistics Korea revealed that 48.1 percent said they want to tie the knot, down from 51.9 percent two years earlier and 56.8 percent in 2014.

The findings also showed that some 56 percent of Koreans answered that a couple can live without getting married, up sharply from 48 percent in 2016 and 46.6 percent in 2014.

The latest results are in line with recent developments centered on fewer babies being born in the country and a tendency for people to put off getting married.

As an increasing number of women pursue careers, they get married and have children at older ages - or give up entirely on making a lasting commitment and having children.

The average age that a woman had her first child was 32.6 last year, up from 32.4 years in 2016. Some 29.4 percent of first-time moms were over 35 years old in 2017, up from 26.4 percent the year before. The trend of declining births is not new in Korea, where an increasing number of women work.

Based on 2016 data, Korea’s fertility rate was the lowest among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), followed by Spain and Italy, both with 1.34. The average birthrate of OECD countries stood at 1.68 as of 2015.

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