Fewer international couples getting married, more getting divorced

Posted on : 2012-11-22 16:43 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
2011 statistics continue decline attributed to tougher immigration regulations

By Kwon Eun-jung, staff reporter

International marriages by South Koreans are on the wane and divorces by multicultural couples are steadily increasing, according to Statistics Korea.

A report on 2011 trends in South Korea’s multicultural population released on Nov. 21 puts the number of new multicultural marriages that year at 30,695, down 12.5% from the year before.

This continued a rough trend of decline over the past four years, with 36,629 new marriages in 2008, 33,862 in 2009, and 35,098 in 2010.

Multicultural marriages accounted for 9.3% of all 329,087 marriages in South Korea last year, down 1.5 percentage points from 2010. The rate was 11.2% as recently as 2008. Statistics Korea attributed the drops to changes to the immigration system, including the tougher road marriage immigrants face getting a permanent residency since amendment of immigration regulations, as well as the introduction of a system for completing an international marriage program.

South Koreans made up the largest portion of males (72.9%) in multicultural families by nationality, followed by China (8.5%), Japan (5.6%), and the US (5.4%). The percentages for Chinese and Japanese men were down by 0.6 and 0.4 percentage points from 2010, respectively, while those for US and Canadian men rose by 1.1 and 0.4 percentage points.

China accounted for the largest percentage of women by nationality, at 30.3%, followed by Vietnam (25.2%), South Korea (20.9%), and the Philippines (6.9%).

While the multicultural marriage rate dropped, the divorce rate for international families rose by 0.9%. This also continued a trend of increase, with 13,653 multicultural divorces in 2009, 14,319 in 2010, and 14,450 in 2011, accounting for 12.6% of the 114,284 divorces in the country that year.

Couples surveyed had been married an average of 4.9 years - well short of the 14.4-year average for couples where both partners were South Korean, but up 0.2 years from 2011.

The number of children born to multicultural couples was tallied at 22,014, an increase of 8.4%. This rate was far higher than the 0.2% recorded for all children in South Korea last year. Multicultural children also rose as a percentage of all births by 0.4 percentage points to 4.7%.

The average childbirth age for mothers was 28.2, up from 27.7 in 2009 and 28.0 in 2010.


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