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How common is divorce in South Korea?


Divorce rates have been on the rise globally. However, it is interesting to note that some countries have lower divorce rates compared to others. South Korea is one of such countries with a relatively low divorce rate. In this article, we will explore how common divorce is in South Korea and what factors contribute to the low divorce rates.

Historical Background

In the past, divorce was not socially acceptable in South Korea due to the Confucian values and traditions that emphasized the importance of maintaining family unity. However, with the rise of industrialization and modernization in the country, attitudes towards divorce have changed.

Current Divorce Rates

According to a report by Statistics Korea, the divorce rate in South Korea has been steadily increasing over the years, but it still remains relatively low compared to other developed countries. In 2020, the divorce rate was 2.3 per 1,000 people, which is significantly lower than countries like the United States.

Reasons for Low Divorce Rates

Several factors contribute to the low divorce rates in South Korea. One of them is the strong emphasis on family values and loyalty. Koreans are raised with a deep sense of duty towards their families and are encouraged to put their family’s interests before their own.

Impact of Religion

Religion also plays a significant role in shaping attitudes towards marriage and divorce in South Korea. Christianity is one of the dominant religions in the country, and it teaches that marriage is a sacred union that should be preserved at all costs.

The Role of Women

In traditional Korean society, women were expected to be subservient to men and were often trapped in unhappy marriages. However, with increased education and economic opportunities for women, they are now more empowered to make decisions about their own lives, including getting a divorce if necessary.

The Stigma of Divorce

Despite the changing attitudes towards divorce in South Korea, there is still a stigma attached to it, especially for women. Divorced women are often viewed as failures and may face discrimination in the workplace or in social settings.

Legal Framework

The legal framework surrounding divorce in South Korea is relatively strict. Couples must go through a mandatory mediation process before they can file for divorce, which can discourage some couples from pursuing it.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

To avoid the lengthy and often acrimonious court battles that can arise during a divorce, many couples in South Korea opt for alternative dispute resolution methods such as arbitration or mediation.

Impact of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on divorce rates worldwide, and South Korea is no exception. With more people spending time at home due to lockdowns and work-from-home policies, tensions within households have increased, leading to a rise in divorce rates.


In conclusion, divorce rates in South Korea are relatively low compared to other developed countries. The strong emphasis on family values and loyalty, the impact of religion, the changing role of women in society, and the strict legal framework surrounding divorce all contribute to this trend.

Future Outlook

While divorce rates are low now, it remains to be seen how they will change in the future as attitudes towards marriage and family continue to evolve in South Korea. As more women become financially independent and societal norms shift, it is possible that divorce rates may continue to rise.

What country has highest divorce rate?

The Maldives currently holds the unfortunate record for the highest divorce rate in the world, with around 5.5 divorces occurring per 1,000 individuals. This trend has been ongoing for some time, with an increasing number of couples opting to end their marriages instead of remaining together.

What is the divorce culture in Korea?

The Korean divorce process does not allow for a no-fault divorce, unless both parties agree to it. Instead, it is a fault-based process where one party is considered the wrongdoer and the other is the victim. The courts believe that an innocent spouse should not be forced into a divorce they do not want.

Which country is hardest to get divorce?

Vatican City is a city-state governed by the Pope that is deeply rooted in Catholic tradition, including the prohibition of divorce for its citizens. Despite its small size of around 100 acres and a population of only 842, all residents are Catholic. It is also recognized as the smallest country in the world.

What is the #1 divorce cause?

It is not unexpected that marital unfaithfulness is a major reason for divorce. How widespread is marital infidelity? According to research conducted by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, up to 25 percent of married men and 15 percent of married women have engaged in extramarital affairs.

Why is divorce rate so high in South Korea?

The leading causes of divorce in the country have evolved over time, but commonly include issues such as domestic violence, unstable finances, cheating, and general dissatisfaction. As divorce has become more socially acceptable, the number of marriages has also decreased throughout the nation. This information was reported as of January 4, 2023.

Is marriage a big deal in Korea?

In traditional Korean culture, as in many other traditional cultures, the elders of the bride and groom traditionally had the authority to arrange marriages between men and women. This is because Confucian values prioritize family and customs above all else. Marriage is regarded as the most significant milestone in an individual’s life.

Another factor that could impact divorce rates in South Korea is the aging population. With an increasing number of elderly people in the country, there may be a rise in “gray divorces” – divorces among older couples who have been married for a long time. This demographic shift could contribute to changes in societal attitudes towards divorce.

In addition, the rise of technology and social media may also have an impact on divorce rates in South Korea. With more people connecting online, it may be easier for couples to meet and form relationships outside of their marriage, leading to an increase in infidelity and ultimately divorce.

It is important to note that while low divorce rates may be seen as a positive thing, it can also mean that people may feel trapped in unhappy marriages due to societal pressure and stigma surrounding divorce. It is essential to create a supportive environment that allows individuals to make choices that are best for their own well-being and happiness.

Overall, the low divorce rates in South Korea are a complex issue influenced by various cultural, social, and legal factors. As society continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how attitudes towards marriage and divorce change and how this impacts divorce rates in the country.

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