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Is marriage common in South Korea?


Marriage has been an integral part of South Korean culture. It is a significant milestone and a crucial part of adult life. However, as the country undergoes rapid modernization, the traditional perspective on marriage is changing. This article will delve into the topic of marriage in South Korea, examining its prevalence, cultural significance, and evolving attitudes towards it.

History of Marriage in South Korea

South Korea has a rich history of arranged marriages, where parents played a vital role in finding suitable partners for their children. However, this practice has been on the decline since the 1980s. Although arranged marriages are less common now, they still exist in some conservative families.

The Prevalence of Marriage in South Korea

According to recent statistics, the marriage rate in South Korea has been declining steadily over the years. In 2020, the marriage rate reached an all-time low of 3.9 per 1000 people. The reasons for this trend include economic factors, changing gender roles, and the rise of individualism.

The Role of Marriage in South Korean Society

Marriage is considered a significant event in South Korean society. It is not just about two individuals coming together; it is also about bringing two families together. The wedding ceremony is an elaborate affair that involves several customs and rituals.

The Influence of Confucianism on Marriage in South Korea

Confucianism has played a vital role in shaping South Korean culture and society. Its influence can be seen in various aspects of life, including marriage. Confucianism emphasizes the importance of filial piety and loyalty to one’s family. Therefore, marriage is seen as a way to continue one’s family lineage and honor ancestors.

Changing Attitudes Towards Marriage in South Korea

With the rise of individualism and changing gender roles, attitudes towards marriage are evolving in South Korea. Young people are becoming more focused on their careers and personal development than on getting married. Moreover, there is a growing acceptance of alternative lifestyles such as singlehood and cohabitation.

The Impact of Economic Factors on Marriage in South Korea

Economic factors have also played a significant role in shaping the attitude towards marriage in South Korea. The high cost of living, coupled with the economic insecurity faced by many young Koreans, has led to a delay in marriage. Additionally, the pressure to provide for a family and own a home has made marriage less appealing to some.

The Gender Gap in Marriage in South Korea

Gender inequality remains a significant issue in South Korean society. This disparity is reflected in the marriage market, where men are considered more desirable partners. Women face societal pressures to marry early and are often judged based on their appearance, education, and socioeconomic status.

The Rise of Intermarriage in South Korea

Intermarriage between Koreans and foreigners has been on the rise in recent years. This trend is partly due to the increasing number of foreigners living and working in South Korea. However, it is also due to changing attitudes towards multiculturalism and diversity.

The Future of Marriage in South Korea

As South Korea continues to modernize and become more diverse, it is likely that attitudes towards marriage will continue to evolve. While marriage remains an essential part of Korean culture, its significance may diminish as people prioritize other aspects of their lives.


In conclusion, marriage is an important aspect of South Korean culture. However, its prevalence is declining due to various factors such as economic insecurity, changing gender roles, and the rise of individualism. Nevertheless, marriage remains a significant milestone for many Koreans and is deeply rooted in the country’s cultural heritage.

How common is marriage in Korea?

The crude marriage rate in South Korea decreased from 3.8 to 3.7 per 1,000 people in 2021, as revealed in data disclosed by the national statistics office on Thursday. In 2022, there were approximately 191,700 marriages, which was a decline of 0.4% from the previous year. This information was reported on March 16, 2023.

Is marriage a big deal in Korea?

In Korean culture, as with many traditional cultures, elders of the bride and groom typically chose the marriage partner. This decision was based on the importance placed on family and family customs in Confucian values. Marriage was viewed as the most significant milestone in an individual’s life.

Do people get married in South Korea?

In Korea, marriage is considered a legal process and a religious ceremony does not legally bind the couple. However, marriages performed under Korean law are recognized in all U.S. states, despite variations in marriage statutes across states.

How old do Koreans usually marry?

The average age at which people in South Korea first get married has been tracked from 1900 to 2021, separated by gender. As of 2020, the median age for men is 33.2 years and for women it is 30.7 years. The figures have fluctuated over the years, with slight variations from year to year.

Why is divorce rate so high in South Korea?

The leading causes of divorce in the country have evolved over time, and they currently involve reasons like domestic violence, economic insecurity, adultery, and general dissatisfaction. Alongside the increasing social acceptance of ending marriages, the overall number of marriages has also decreased in the country. This information was reported as of January 4, 2023.

Is divorce common in Korea?

In the past, divorce was uncommon in Korea, but since the 1980s, the rate has significantly increased. Between 1992 and 2002, it rose by 250%, and now South Korea has a higher divorce rate than Japan and is one of the highest in the world.

Despite the declining marriage rate, the Korean government has launched various initiatives to encourage young people to get married. One such initiative is the “Love and Marriage” campaign, which provides financial incentives for couples who get married and have children. The government also offers support for housing and childcare to help ease the burden of starting a family.

Another trend that is emerging in South Korea is the rise of “solo weddings.” This trend involves individuals getting dressed up in wedding attire and taking photos to commemorate their single status. Solo weddings are seen as a way to celebrate oneself and take control of one’s own happiness, without relying on a partner.

While attitudes towards marriage are evolving, traditional gender roles still persist in many aspects of South Korean society. Women are expected to take on more domestic responsibilities, while men are expected to be the primary breadwinners. These gender disparities can make it difficult for women to balance their careers and family life.

In conclusion, marriage in South Korea is a complex topic that reflects the country’s cultural heritage and modernization. While its prevalence is declining, marriage remains an important milestone for many Koreans. As the country continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how attitudes towards marriage continue to shift and adapt.

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