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No. of multicultural marriages hits fresh low amid pandemic

All News 12:00 November 03, 2022

By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, Nov. 3 (Yonhap) -- The number of marriages between South Korean nationals and foreign spouses set a new record low last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, data showed Thursday.

A total of 13,926 transnational couples tied the knot here in 2021, down 13.9 percent, or 2,251, from a year earlier, according to the data from Statistics Korea. They accounted for 7.2 percent of all marriages.

It marked the lowest reading since 2008, when the statistics agency started to compile related data.

The decrease came as the pandemic has restricted cross-border travel since early 2020. In 2019, the number of such marriages reached 24,700, rising on-year for three consecutive years.

On average, grooms were 35.1 years old in multicultural marriages, while brides were 30.5 years old.

Out of the total, couples made up of South Korean men and foreign women accounted for 62.1 percent.

Chinese accounted for 23.9 percent of all foreign brides, trailed by Vietnamese and Thai with 13.5 percent and 11.4 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, the data showed that divorces of such international couples dropped 3 percent to 8,424 in 2021.

The number of babies born to multicultural married couples came to 14,322 last year, down 12.8 percent from a year earlier, in line with the country's chronically low birth rates.

The tally accounted for 5.5 percent of total newborns in 2021.

South Korea's total fertility rate, the average number of children a woman bears in her lifetime, came to 0.81 children in 2021, staying below one for the fourth straight year.

No. of multicultural marriages hits fresh low amid pandemic - 1

colin@yna.co.kr
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