Park, a 19-year-old who lives in Nowon-gu, Seoul, recently began to have thoughts of living on her own just like a cousin in her 30s, who enjoys a single life. “I think it’s better to live alone, keep a cat as a pet and enjoy hobbies would be much happier than getting married and starting a family,” she said. Hong, a 16-year-old girl who lives in Guri City, fancies getting married but is not interested in having children of her own. “I don’t really want to raise a child when I think of my mom giving up her career as a daycare center teacher to take care of me,” she explained.
Six out of 10 adolescents in Korea view that marriage and family planning are not necessary. This trend is a reflection of young adults thinking who chose not to marry or have children. The Ministry of Gender Equality announced the results of the survey on Wednesday.
The survey on adolescents’ perception towards marriage and family planning was carried out on youth aged 14 to 25. According to the survey, 60.9% of the respondents replied either “definitely not” or “no” to “Marriage is mandatory.” The percentage is 10 percentage points higher than the figure in 2017 at 49%. More than 65% of female adolescents viewed that marriage was not necessary, which was much higher than male adolescents at 57.1%. Meanwhile, 56.6% of respondents aged 14 to 19, 64% of those aged 20 to 25, replied that “marriage is not necessary”.
More people are having negative perceptions towards child birth and child rearing. 60.3% of respondents replied “Very true” and “True” to “Giving birth to children should not be mandatory in a marriage,” which is 14% higher than three years ago. The survey was carried out from November last year to February this year. 7,170 respondents from the age 10 to 25, the age defined as adolescents by the law, participated in the survey, which is carried out every three years.
Many are voicing concerns over the results of the survey. “It is very serious that adolescents are deviating from the idea of marriage and child birth,” said Vice Minister Kim Kyung-sun of Gender Equality. “Negative perceptions towards marriage and child birth were reinforced last year due to the pandemic, which impeded conditions for employment and living independently from parents,” explained Kim Ki-hun, a senior researcher at the National Youth Policy Institute. The government also sees “gender disputes’ impacting hostility towards the opposite sex.