South Koreans Marrying Foreigners Drop to 12 Year Low
Michael Song, Nov. 19, 2015, 8:55 a.m.
The number of South Koreans getting married to a foreign spouse continued to dwindle last year, dipping to the lowest level in over a decade, data showed Thursday. The number of South Koreans tying the knot with a foreign spouse came to 24,387 in 2014, down 9.5 percent from a year earlier, according to the data from the Statistics Korea.
The 2014 tally marked the lowest since 2003 when 24,775 Koreans married foreigners. The statistics office noted the number of international marriages has declined steadily since 2008. The number peaked in 2005 when 42,356 Koreans got married to foreign spouses, accounting for 13.5 percent of all newlyweds then.
“The proportion of international marriages further shrank to 8 percent of the total last year, slipping 0.3 percentage point from the previous year. The total number of marriages gained 5.4 percent on-year to some 305,000 in 2014 while that of international marriages dropped 9.5 percent,” the agency said in a press release.
The steady decline in international marriages has been attributed to government efforts to sort out unlicensed and unqualified marriage agencies that had been blamed for later problems in marriage, including domestic violence and fraud.
Out of all international marriages last year, 63.6 percent involved South Korean males, marking an on-year drop of 1.8 percentage points. The remaining 26.4 percent involved South Korean females, up 0.8 percentage point from a year earlier.
The number of divorces between multi-cultural couples also dropped 4.3 percent on-year to 12,902 last year. Still, the number accounted for 11.7 percent of all divorces in the country. In 2014, the number of babies born to multi-cultural families slipped 0.5 percent on-year to 21,174, accounting for 4.9 percent of all newborns here.