Item from the Smart Marriages Archive, reproduced in the Divorce Statistics Collection

November 13, 1998

Divorces Surge as Couples Cope with Recession

The number of divorces sharply increased last year, when the economy began to show signs of business slowdown,
according to demographic data released by the government yesterday.

According to a 1997 population survey by the National Statistical Office (NSO), the number of divorces reached 93,200,
up 16.9 percent from a year earlier, this figure represents an almost two-fold increase in divorces from seven years ago,
with 44,900 cases.

The 1997 figure is translated into 255 couples divorcing every day.

Divorces due to economic problems accounted for 4.2 percent of total divorces, a 0.6-percentage point increase from 1996,
and almost twice as high as 2.2 percent in 1988.

Irreconcilable differences took up about 80 percent of divorces, but the statistical office associated most of the cases to
economic problems.

``The recession seems to have accelerated the dismantling of families,'' an NSO official said.

The preference for sons over daughters, a social problem in Korea, was found to have been corrected significantly.

The number of baby boys per 100 baby girls decreased by 4.9 boys from 113.3 in 1995 to 108.4 last year. A normal sex
balance from a statistical point of view ranges from 103 to 107.

The NSO attributed the improved balance of the sexes to the strengthened crackdown on illegal sex discernment and
abortions of unborn children.

Meanwhile, the average age of marriage for men increased to 28.7 years and 25.9 years for women in 1997, up from 28.6
and 25.6 for men and women, respectively, a year earlier.

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