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Asia Minute: Delaying Marriage in East Asia



Hawai?i is a popular location destination for people to get married. But in several countries in East Asia, many people are delaying marriages - or skipping them entirely.


In South Korea, the institution of marriage isn’t what it used to be.

Government statistics show young people are waiting longer to tie the knot. 24 years ago, about two-thirds of men in their mid to late 20’s were single.

According to the latest figures, now 90-percent of that age group is single. Half of South Korean men are unmarried in their early to mid-thirties, and a third still single into their 40’s . . . much higher figures than twenty years earlier.

It’s a similar trend for women.

The government believes it’s not a matter of romance as much as it is economics. The Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs tracks the numbers, and reports young people are putting a higher value on saving money and advancing their careers — before entertaining any thoughts of marriage.

Marriage rates are also dropping in China and Japan, among other locations.

According to Japan’s National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, one in four Japanese men remains single into his fifties . . . while one in seven women is single at the age of fifty.

Back in South Korea, the Institute for Health and Social Affairs says there’s a role for government in this picture: “to help young people secure financial stability to encourage them to have relationships and get married.”

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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