South Korean marriages fell to a new record low last year, auguring a further downshift in the country’s dismal fertility rate.
(Bloomberg) — South Korean marriages fell to a new record low last year, auguring a further downshift in the country’s dismal fertility rate.
Korea’s crude marriage rate — the number of marriages per 1,000 people — slid to 3.7 from 3.8 in 2021, according to data released Thursday by the national statistics office. About 191,700 marriages took place in 2022, down 0.4% from a year earlier.
The increased reluctance among Koreans to marry is a warning sign that the world’s lowest fertility rate may fall even further. Matrimony and fertility are closely associated in Korea, where births outside marriage remain rare.
Low fertility threatens to undermine Korea’s productivity by shrinking its workforce and slowing consumption. The government has introduced a slew of measures to encourage more births in an effort to reverse the trend, including a tripling of monthly allowances for parents by President Yoon Suk Yeol, who took office last year.
A variety of factors are blamed for Koreans’ reluctance to tie the knot, ranging from the high costs of housing to the difficulties of raising a child. Increasing gender tensions are another reason regularly highlighted.
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