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(LEAD) Half of S. Koreans see marriage, childbirth as not a must: report

All News 15:19 March 23, 2023

(ATTN: ADDS more details about report in last 5 paras, photo)

SEOUL, March 23 (Yonhap) -- Half of South Koreans viewed marriage as unessential and nearly 60 percent of those in their 10s and 20s said childbirth after marriage is not a must, a government report showed Thursday, illustrating the country's demographic crisis amid a record-low birthrate.

Only 50 percent of South Koreans aged 13 and older said marriage is a must. Of male respondents, 55.8 percent voiced support for marriage, but only 44.3 percent of female citizens did so, according to the report by Statistics Korea on the country's social indicators for 2022.

While some 65.3 percent of South Koreans said childbirth is needed after getting married, the proportion fell to 41.1 percent among teenagers, the lowest level among age brackets, the report showed.

Of those in their 20s, 44 percent said childbirth is essential for marriage life, and 54.7 percent of those in their 30s regarded childbirth as a must.

In 2022, the country's total fertility rate, the average number of children a woman bears in her lifetime, came to 0.78, marking the lowest since 1970, when it was 4.53.

Last year's figure was much lower than the replacement level of 2.1 that would keep South Korea's population stable at 51.5 million.

The number of family members per household came to 2.3 as of 2021, down by 0.83 from a year earlier. Single-person households accounted for the largest share of all with 33.4 percent, followed by three-member households with 19.4 percent and households with four family members with 14.7 percent, the report showed.

Meanwhile, one out of five South Koreans responded that they felt lonely, with the rate coming to 26.2 percent among those aged 60 and older.

Some 75.4 percent of South Koreans said they were satisfied with their lives, according to the report.

The report also showed that each household had average assets of 547.72 million won and 91.7 million won in debt last year.

The statistics agency has drawn up the report on a yearly basis since 1979 using various indicators about Korean society.

This file photo taken on Oct. 6, 2021, shows a public postnatal care center in the southeastern port city of Ulsan. (Yonhap)

This file photo taken on Oct. 6, 2021, shows a public postnatal care center in the southeastern port city of Ulsan. (Yonhap)


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