Seoul: The number of marriages in South Korea crashed to yet another record low in 2022, adding to concerns over the country’s already plunging birth rate, data showed on Thursday.
Around 192,000 couples tied the knot in Asia’s No. 4 economy last year, slipping 0.4 per cent from 2021, according to the data from Statistics Korea.
The number is the lowest since 1970, when the statistical agency began compiling related data, and represents the 11th straight year of shrinkage, reports Yonhap News Agency.
The decrease nevertheless slowed from a 9.8 per cent on-year drop tallied in 2021, apparently as couples who had delayed their marriages during the earlier stages of the Covid-19 pandemic held weddings.
South Koreans in their 20s further distanced themselves from getting married in 2022.
The number of marriages in the age group 25 to 29 decreased 8.4 per cent for men and 7.2 per cent for women on-year.
The average age for grooms getting married for the first time came to an all-time high of 33.7 in 2022, up 0.4 from a year earlier, and brides reached a new record of 31.3, up 0.2 over the period.
The number of couples getting divorced, meanwhile, came to 93,000 in 2022, down 8.3 percent from a year earlier. Couples who have been married for four years or less accounted for 18.6 per cent.
The number of divorces marked the lowest level since 1997, when the figure came to 91,160.
The number of South Koreans marrying foreign spouses stood at 17,000 in 2022, up 27.2 per cent from the previous year.
The latest tally came amid South Korea’s chronically low childbirths.
A total of 249,000 babies were born last year, falling 4.4 per cent from the previous record low in 2021, separate data from the agency showed earlier.
The country’s total fertility rate, the average number of children a woman bears in her lifetime, came to 0.78 in 2022, the lowest since 1970.
Last year marked the fifth straight year the rate was below one.