It's the dreaded question single South Koreans find themselves fielding from relatives, friends, colleagues and even strangers on a regular basis: "When are you getting married?".
"My parents pressure me [about marriage] whenever I visit them," said one 34-year-old man living in Seoul. "They joke about it at first, but they get really serious by the end of our conversation."
A 32-year-old female freelancer also based in the capital tells a similar story. "When I meet people for the first time, they ask me why I'm not married. It's especially common for older Koreans to ask these questions," she said, adding that the younger generation tends to find such queries rude and unnecessary.
Yet despite this near-constant push to marry, an increasing number of South Koreans are forgoing weddings altogether. In fact, many don't even date any more.
A survey by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs published in early January found that as of 2012, the latest year for which figures are available, less than 40 per cent of 20- to 44-year-olds were actively dating. The proportion in traditional marriages is even lower.
In 2015, 90 per cent of men and 77 per cent of women aged 25 to 29 were unmarried, according to a report in The Korea Herald . Among those aged 30 to 34, the figure was 56 per cent, shrinking to 33 per cent for 40- to 45-year-olds, the report said. For comparison, a 2015 survey by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research in neighbouring Japan found that 23 per cent of men had never married by age 50, versus 14 per cent of women.
South Korea's birth rate is also the lowest in the world, dropping to 0.95 at the end of last year - meaning that for every 100 women, just 95 children were born. To maintain a stable population, the birth rate needs to be 2.1. In the boom times of the early 70s, nearly 1 million South Korean babies were being born each year, but by 2017 that number had more than halved to 357,700.