Korean youths open to common-law marriage

Korean youths open to common-law marriage

The majority of young South Koreans are willing to have common-law relationships or marry a foreigner, the latest government data showed Tuesday.

According a survey by Statistics Korea last year, 56.8 per cent of young Koreans aged 9 to 24 said they were willing to live with their partners without getting married, while 74.2 per cent said they wouldn't mind marrying a foreigner.

However, only 26.4 per cent said they were willing to have children outside marriage. Almost 50 per cent of them said they were willing to put their family's needs above their own once tying the knot.

Young people account for 19 per cent of the entire Korean population as of this year, according to data. However, the youth population has been on a constant decline over the last four decades.

In the 1970s, they accounted for 35.1 per cent of the population and 21.2 per cent in 2010. The government expects that they will only make up 11.4 per cent of the nation's entire population by 2060 at the current low birthrate ― 1.19 children per woman.

The number of school-aged youths ― ages 6 to 21 ― also decreased from 10 million in 2010 to 8.9 million this year. As of 2015, they accounted for 17.5 per cent of the overall population.

Meanwhile, the elderly population has continued to grow. Koreans aged 65 or older accounted for 12.6 per cent of the total population in 2013, and the proportion of the elderly is forecast to exceed 20 per cent by 2026 and 50 per cent by 2100.

While the majority of youths were open to the idea of living unmarried with a partner, 68.8 per cent said they were currently happy with their family life.

More than 45 per cent said they were not the only ones who should be responsible for supporting their parents in their post-retirement years. They said society and the government should also financially support the elderly, along with their family members.

More than 60 per cent said they were currently stressed in general, while 50.5 per cent said they were unsatisfied with their school life.

The biggest number of them, 35.3 per cent, said they were most stressed about schoolwork and academic pressure, while 25.6 per cent were most worried about their future careers. The leading cause of death among Korean youths last year was suicide, followed by traffic accidents and cancer.

More than 10 per cent of the surveyed young people said they had run away from home. The biggest number of them said they ran away because of conflicts with their parents.

As of last year, 95.2 per cent of all teenagers accessed the Internet at least once a day, while 52.6 per cent said they had watched pornography using their smartphones at least once.

Meanwhile, the number of young individuals from multicultural households increased by 21.6 per cent his year from the year before, from 55,762 to 67,806.

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