Korea has the lowest fertility rate in the world, which is tied to the country’s declining population and caused by the country’s all-time low marriage rates. The younger generation of Gen Z and Millennials are part of that decrease by no longer wanting to get married and have children. So the Korean news outlet Yonhap News spoke to citizens in their twenties and thirties to find out the four main reasons they’re putting off marriage.
Despite the younger generation reaching the age where they’re finishing university and transitioning into their careers, their salary isn’t enough to support anyone but themselves.
It hasn’t been long since I got a job. My salary is the same, but with consumer prices going up, I can barely get by.
— Korean man in his late twenties
Their salaries are so unbalanced with consumer prices that one woman said it would be difficult to survive, or get married, without their parents’ support.
I’m in my early thirties and people my age, regardless of their gender, do try to save money. But how much can we save? I think it’s hard unless we get financial support from our parents.
— Korean woman in her early thirties
2. High Cost
In addition to the decrease in the value of money, consumer prices have risen high enough to deter the younger generation from getting married at all.
I think it would be nice to get married and also have a baby, but I’m worried about the cost after getting married.
— Korean man in his early twenties
A recently divorced man even admitted that it was better to stay single when revealing how pricey it was to purchase a home, especially as a married couple.
The first thing that comes to mind is money. Since housing prices are so high, people get a loan and have to pay it off later on. I’d rather stay single and enjoy my single life. I’ve been married, but it’s not a must.
— Korean man in his early forties
3. Single Life
With so many valid concerns attached to getting married and having children, one young woman shared how enjoyable it was to stay single and put off marriage until much later.
People want to enjoy living a single life. I don’t want to get married yet.
— Korean woman in her early twenties
There were no worries about being lonely, either. Another young woman revealed that there are so many single people that there’s always someone to go to for company.
Once people get married, we feel like we’ll lose our alone time. There are a lot of people who live alone without getting married so people can interact with them and wouldn’t feel lonely.
— Korean woman in her mid-twenties
4. Marriage Contracts
The last reason was all about the contract of marriage. Because the younger generation has grown up in a different society, they no longer see marriage contracts as beneficial and refuse to get married.
Honestly, I think there are a lot of people who think about the profit and loss and conclude marriage is not beneficial for them. Unlike before, there are so many things to do.
Also, the generation who reached a marriageable age had a different experience growing up compared to the older generation.
— Korean man in his early thirties
See Korea’s younger generation explain why marriage and children are no longer part of their future goals.