Marriage and motherhood are no longer important for more than half of Korean women
South Korea has been in a real demographic crisis for several years and is the OECD country with the lowest birth rate.
On February 23, it was announced that the country’s total fertility rate, or the average number of children a woman gives birth to in her lifetime, was 0.78 in 2022, its lowest level on record.
On February 26, a poll organized by the Korean Association for Social Welfare Studies found that more than half of South Korean women believe marriage and motherhood are not essential parts of life.
More specifically, only 4% of the women surveyed said that marriage and childbirth were “compulsory”, while 12.9% of the men surveyed said the same.
In the survey of 281 single men and women between the ages of 20 and 34, the proportion of women was 45%.
The study suggests that the importance of marriage and childbirth is related to respondents’ perceptions of Korean society.
Respondents who rate their quality of life and society highly tend to consider marriage and childbirth to be “important,” according to the study in its analysis of the survey.
This implies that respondents with greater social confidence and a belief that the community they live in is able to offer more opportunity and equality are more likely to view marriage and childbirth as attractive options, according to the association.
A separate study also showed that fewer people, women and men, see supporting their parents as a mandatory duty.
According to a survey of a total of 7,865 households between March and July 2022 by the Korea Institute of Health and Welfare, about 21% of respondents said children should live with and take care of their parents, compared to 52.6% 15 years ago.
The proportion of respondents who agreed that “small children should be cared for by their mothers at home” has also steadily decreased over the past 15 years.
The percentage of respondents who said mothers should take care of their children was 64.7% in the 2007 survey but has fallen to 39.6% in 2022.
Unlike in the past, when the elderly and children were cared for by families, the report now sees more people as the responsibility of society and the state to care for these groups.