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Why is the divorce rate so high in Korea?


Korea has one of the highest divorce rates in the world, with more than half of all marriages ending in divorce. This phenomenon is a result of a combination of cultural, economic, and social factors.

Cultural Factors

Korean culture places a strong emphasis on family and traditional gender roles. Women are expected to be homemakers and mothers, while men are expected to be the breadwinners. However, as women have become more educated and independent, they have begun to challenge these traditional roles, leading to conflicts within marriages.

Economic Factors

The high cost of living in Korea has led to financial stress for many couples. Long working hours and job insecurity have also contributed to marital problems. In addition, the pressure to maintain a certain lifestyle and provide for children has put a strain on many marriages.

Social Factors

Social pressures in Korea can also contribute to divorce. The stigma surrounding divorce has decreased in recent years, making it easier for couples to end their marriages. In addition, the rise of social media and online dating has made it easier for people to meet new partners outside of their marriage.

Changing Attitudes Towards Marriage

Korean attitudes towards marriage have also changed in recent years. Many young Koreans are choosing to delay marriage or not get married at all. This shift in attitudes has led to fewer marriages overall, but those that do occur are often less stable.

Gender Inequality

Despite progress in women’s rights in Korea, gender inequality still exists. Women often face discrimination in the workplace and are expected to put their careers on hold when they get married or have children. This inequality can lead to resentment and conflict within marriages.

Impact of Traditional Gender Roles

Traditional gender roles can also contribute to marital conflict. Men may feel pressure to provide for their families, while women may feel trapped in traditional roles as homemakers and caregivers. These conflicts can lead to a breakdown in communication and ultimately, divorce.


Infidelity is another common reason for divorce in Korea. The rise of social media and online dating has made it easier for people to cheat on their partners. In addition, the stigma surrounding divorce has decreased, making it easier for people to leave an unfaithful partner.

Parental Pressure

Parents play a significant role in Korean marriages, often pressuring their children to marry and have children. This pressure can lead to rushed marriages and unhappy couples. In addition, parents may interfere in their children’s marriages, causing further conflict.

High Expectations

Koreans often have high expectations for marriage, expecting their partner to fulfill all of their emotional and physical needs. When these expectations are not met, it can lead to disappointment and frustration within the marriage.

Lack of Communication

Communication is key in any relationship, but many Korean couples struggle with this. Traditional gender roles and societal pressures can make it difficult for couples to express their feelings and needs openly. This lack of communication can lead to misunderstandings and conflict within the marriage.


The high divorce rate in Korea is a result of a complex set of cultural, economic, and social factors. While progress has been made in recent years towards greater gender equality and acceptance of divorce, there is still much work to be done to reduce the divorce rate and improve the quality of marriages in Korea.

Does South Korea have a high divorce rate?

In Korea, divorces were not common in the past. However, from 1980 to 1994, the rate of divorces tripled, and from 1992 to 2002, it increased by 250%. Currently, South Korea has a higher divorce rate than Japan and is among the highest in the world.

Why is marriage rate low in South Korea?

Koreans are hesitant to get married for a number of reasons, such as the high expenses associated with housing and the challenges of raising children. There are also concerns about growing gender tensions in society.

Which country has the highest divorce rate Why?

The Maldives has the unfortunate distinction of having the highest divorce rate in the world, with around 5.5 divorces per 1,000 people. This has been an ongoing problem, as an increasing number of couples are opting to dissolve their marriages instead of working through their issues.

Is marriage a big deal in Korea?

In Korean culture, as in other traditional cultures, the elders of the bride and groom typically arranged marriages between men and women. Confucian values place great importance on family and its customs. Marriage is viewed as a critical milestone in one’s life.

What is the biggest divorce in Korea?

Chey Tae-won, a prominent South Korean business leader, is set to maintain his hold on the SK Group conglomerate despite his divorce from Roh Soh-yeong. In the initial legal decision, Roh was granted a financial settlement of 66.5 billion Korean won (approximately $50 million) and 100 million won in alimony. This development occurred on December 6, 2022.

What is the infidelity rate in South Korea?

According to a study conducted in 2016 by Linea Research Korea, as reported by the Korea Herald, around 50.8 percent of married South Korean men admitted to being unfaithful, while only 9.3 percent of married women admitted to the same.

Legal System

The legal system in Korea also plays a role in the high divorce rate. The process of obtaining a divorce can be lengthy, expensive, and emotionally draining. In addition, the legal system can be biased towards men, making it difficult for women to receive a fair settlement or custody of their children.

Mental Health

Divorce can have a significant impact on mental health, both for the couple and any children involved. The stigma surrounding divorce in Korea can make it difficult for individuals to seek help and support for their emotional well-being. In addition, the stress and trauma of divorce can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.


Religion also plays a role in attitudes towards marriage and divorce in Korea. Christianity is the largest religion in Korea, and many Christian couples may feel pressure to stay in unhappy marriages due to religious beliefs. Other religions, such as Buddhism and Confucianism, also place a strong emphasis on family values and traditional gender roles.


Education levels can also affect the likelihood of divorce in Korea. Couples with higher levels of education may be less likely to divorce due to increased financial stability and greater communication skills. However, education can also lead to greater individualism and independence, which can put a strain on traditional marriage roles.

Government Policies

The Korean government has implemented policies aimed at reducing the divorce rate, such as providing counseling services and financial assistance for low-income families. However, these policies often focus on preserving traditional gender roles and promoting marriage, rather than addressing underlying issues such as gender inequality and economic stress.


The high divorce rate in Korea is a complex issue that requires a multifaceted approach. Addressing cultural attitudes towards marriage and gender roles, improving economic conditions and job security, and promoting greater communication and mental health support can all contribute to reducing the divorce rate and improving the quality of marriages in Korea.

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