No. of multicultural marriages hits record low in 2020 due to pandemic

SEOUL, Nov. 8 (Yonhap) — The number of marriages between South Koreans and foreign spouses fell to a record low last year as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted people’s cross-border movements, data showed Monday.

The number of multicultural marriages came to 16,177 last year, down 34.6 percent, or 8,544, from a year earlier, according to the data from Statistics Korea.

It marked the lowest reading since 2008 when the statistics agency started to compile related data.

The number of international marriages sharply fell last year after it grew for the third straight year in 2019. The number also declined below the 20,000 mark for the first time in 2020.

The pandemic hit international exchanges and cross-border movements, which drove down the number of multicultural marriages, according to the agency.

The proportion of babies born to multicultural families of all childbirths in South Korea hit a record high last year due to the country’s chronically low birthrate.

The number of babies born to multicultural married couples came to 16,421 last year, down 8.5 percent, or 1,518, from a year earlier, the data showed.

The tally accounted for a record high of 6 percent of total newborns last year.

The number declined for the eighth straight year in 2020 after peaking at 22,908 in 2012.

The proportion surged as the country’s childbirths reached another all-time low last year, according to Statistics Korea.

South Korea is struggling with a sustained fall in childbirths as many young people give up on getting married or having babies amid a prolonged economic slowdown.

Last year, the number of childbirths came to 272,300, down 30,300, or 10 percent, from the previous year, according to separate data from the agency.

The number of divorces among multicultural couples stood at 8,685 last year, down 12 percent from the previous year.




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