Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Non-Marriages in Korea

Korea is a member of the club of developed nations: OECD. Of these countries, two  stand out with a birth rate that catches the eye: Israel and France. An article in the Peace Weekly introduces us to a serious problem in Korea.

In 2014 Israel women had an average of 3.08 children the highest in the list of OECD countries. Korea has a rate of 1.24 the lowest in the list of OECD countries. Continuing this growth rate, Israel with a population of over 8 million  will have over 11 million by 2035.

France's rate is the fourth after Israel, Mexico, and Turkey. In 1990 the rate was 1.75 in 2014 it rose to 1.98.

Both countries are members of the OECD but the reason for the increase is different for each, Isreal, from their tradition, has a belief in the sacredness of life and blessings that come from children. The Super Orthodox Tradition is to have on the average eight children which has influenced society.

On the other hand, the old traditional French customs have collapsed and they are bringing in a new system which has increased the birthrate. This is a contract between two adults for their joint life, it is not a marriage but a joint agreement filed at a district office-- a civil solidarity pact known as PACS. Once this is done an allowance is provided for the  birth, rearing, and education of the children. 55% of the children are born in these circumstances.

In 2012, 150,000 were PACS' couples and 230,000 were marriages but the PACS had the larger number of children. A French scholar, Jacques Attali  sees by 2030 the number of marriages will disappear, and 90 % will be PACS. Korea in 2015 according to Office of Statistics had a little more than 300,000 marriages which are the lowest number since 2003.

The writer agrees that economics is a problem limiting marriages in Korea but he believes those of marriageable age no longer see marriage as necessary but only a choice. We will, he believes, see more non-marriages in Korea. However, he doesn't see Korea going in the direction of France because of the traditional Korean ways and culture. Consequently, without marriage, we will not see Korea going in the way of the French and a continual drop in the birth rate.

According to  Gallop in 2014 half of the Korean population has a religion. Religious people usually have a positive outlook on children and marriage. Efforts need to be made to encourage marriage and children, and ways to support marriage and to press for changes. The reason the PACS system has been so successful in France, the writer concludes, is the burden that is felt by the young people in having a Church wedding.

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