Somewhere Between Marriage and Reality
Somewhere Between Marriage and Reality
  • Min Jeong-ung
  • 승인 2023.09.22 12:42
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Studies show that marriage rates are getting lower and lower daily, which concerns many people. However, some people are unaware of why a low marriage rate is a problem. ST talked about social issues about marriage to increase awareness of the topic. ......Ed

     Last year, the TFR (Total Fertility Rate), or the average number of children a woma nwould give birth to over her lifetime, hit 0.78, a histor iclow. This number is even lower than the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) average of 1.58 by almost half, and is the lowest in the world. As such, the low fertility rate became a hotly debated topic in the country, with the low rate of marriage blamed as one of the culprits. Indeed, the rate of marriage, especially among the younger generations, is low- only 52.9% of men and 67.1% of women between the ages of 25 to 49 have ever been married, a full 10 percentage points lower than 2010, regardless of gender. The average age of first marriages have gone up as well- men sit at 33.7 an dwomen at 31.3, each being higher by 1.6 and 1.9 years compare dto 2010. Some blame this phenomenon on the young people, claiming that the younger generations only marry when the situation seems picture perfect, unlike the older generations who just figured it out. Disregarding if that indeed is a superior way to go about it, the prevailing opinion is that the status quo is quite poor for newly married couples. Sky-high inflation and ever expensive hagwons, as well as rising cost of marriage and childcare all contribute to a society hostile to marriage and child-rearing. Others believe that the poor rate of marriage is in part thanks to marriage being extremely disadvantageous for women.

     According to a 2019 statistic, women tend to do much more household labor, a full 3 hours and 13 minutes, over three times more than the men’s 56 minutes. This trend held for couples who both worked, as well. Social problems like breaks or even loss of women’s careers and conflict with the in-laws are present as well, and many young women tend to avoid marriage due to such issues. A full 17%, or 1.39 million married women have suffered from lost careers. Finally, marriage may not be desirable to younger generations
due to differing perceptions of love and relationships. In addition to non-maritalist sentiments, which had been in the spotlight since
the 2000s, many young people seem to be against the concept of being tied to one person for the rest of their lives. As such, some advocate to give non-married couples more rights, like the Western European and North American countries tend to do.

     Many have opinions on the matter of marriage and the birth rate, but the thing that matters the most in the end are the opinions and the happiness of those who will form families- or don’t. Policy must prioritize the well-being and wishes of those who will be affected by it, not the wishes or the opinions of those in the sidelines.


Min Jeong-ung (News Editor)

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