By Nam Hyun-woo
A mounting number of Koreans, especially among the young generation, are open to international marriage and this trend is growing, a government survey showed Tuesday.
According to Statistics Korea and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, 77 percent of Koreans aged between 13 and 24 said they were "fine with international marriage" in 2016. Some 56.4 percent of those aged between 50 and 69 said they are too.
The numbers are based on Statistics Korea's biennial social survey, in which the agency sampled members of 18,576 household across the country.
The ratio of people saying they are okay with international marriage has steadily grown. In 2008, 66.2 percent of the young said they were fine with marrying a foreigner and the proportion rose to 69.2 percent in 2010, 73.4 percent in 2012 and 74.2 percent in 2014. In the older groups, the ratio has also been growing from 45.2 percent in 2008 to 52.7 percent in 2014.
In other questions, more and more teenagers seem not to care about tying the knot. The ratio of teenagers regarding marriage as a must declined to 38.8 percent last year from 57 percent in 2008. During the same period, the proportion of those saying either marrying or not is fine has grown to 51.4 percent in 2016 from 37 percent in 2008.
Their parents' opinions on marriage have also changed. In 2008, 17.5 percent of parents said they didn't care much about whether or not their children would marry but the figure almost doubled to 32.9 percent last year.
The share of teenagers opposing divorce declined to 27 percent last year from 40.1 percent in 2008. Parents also showed a similar pattern, with the ratio of those objecting to divorce declining to 48 percent last year from 72.7 percent in 2008.
However, both teenagers and parents were on the same page when it comes to having babies out of wedlock. Some 70 percent of teenagers said they are against having a baby without marrying and 82.5 percent of their parents said the same thing. From 2008 to 2016, the ratio of young people opposing having babies out of wedlock declined from 73.7 percent to 70 percent and that of their parents inched down from 84.5 percent to 82.5 percent.
Meanwhile, Statistics Korea predicted the number of Koreans aged between nine and 24 in 2017 would stand at 9.25 million. The entire population is estimated to stand at 51.45 million.