One in three couples in Korea who have been married less than five years are childless, a survey out Monday suggests. Statistics Korea surveyed 1.18 million couples who had been married less than five years as of Nov. 1 last year.
It found that 35.5 percent or some 420,000 couples have no children. That meant that on average these young couples have less than one child each or 0.82, whereas even the record-low overall birthrate was at least 1.24 children last year.
Four out of every 10 young couples or 42.9 percent are double-income earners, and 57.4 percent do not own their home. A whopping 13.7 percent do not even live together due to financial reasons.
The newer the couple, the higher the chances that they live apart. The figure is 19.2 percent for couples who have been married less than a year.
A Statistics Korea spokesman said, "This means that a lot of newly-wed couples are living in situations where it is difficult to have children. And the number of couples living apart has grown as the government moved agencies and state-run companies out of Seoul."
The prime decider for young couples seems to be whether both husband and wife work and own their home.
Some 70.1 percent of couples with only one spouse working have children, and 57.9 percent of double-income couples have no children. Also, 68.4 percent of couples who own their home have children as against only 61.5 percent of couples who do not own heir home.
Strikingly, couples on high incomes tend to be childless. Some 45.4 percent of couples who make more than W100 million a year have no children, compared to 32.1 percent for those who earn between W30 million and W50 million.
Statistics Korea said highly paid professionals find it difficult for one spouse to quit working to have children.