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13 April


Koreans don’t want to marry and have children

The birth of a child outside the family in the country is considered unacceptable

Photo: The Korea Times

/NOVOSTIVL/ With fewer people marrying, South Korea's birth rate is plunging, creating a daunting demographic challenge. This article appeared in The Korea Times.

The number of newlyweds hit a record low of 18,200 in February, down 4.2 percent year-on-year. The number of newborns also sank to a new low of 25,700, down 6.9 percent year-on-year. Statistic Korea's biggest concern is the continued decline in newlywed couples.

Some may see marriage and having babies as independent issues. But with the Confucian mindset still holding sway among middle-aged and older people here, having babies out of wedlock is widely considered taboo.

In fact, the number of babies born out of wedlock accounted for a mere 1.9 percent of newborns in 2017.

"Marriage is the main precondition to having babies in Korea," a Statistics Korea official said. "One of the most efficient ways to boost birth rates would be to make more young people marry."

But to boost marriage rates is not an easy task, experts say.