No. of elderly weddings doubles in 10 years

By Cynthia J. Kim

S.KOREA - Getting married is becoming increasingly popular among the elderly. Over 18,791 couples aged 50 years old or more got married last year alone, the highest figure on record.

According to Statistics Korea, The number is 3.7 times increase from 1990 when only 5,014 couples in the same age group chose to wed their partner. It is also almost double the 8,928 newly married elderly couples in 2000.

"The perceptions about having a lifetime partner are rapidly changing and the statistics on marriage reflect that," an official at the state agency said.

"Divorce carries less social burden than it used to, and more people are finding freedom to marry again even after they turn 50 or 60."

Marriages among men in the age group took up 1.3 percent of all marriages in the country in 1990 and this grew to 2.7 percent in 1990 and to 5.8 percent in 2010.

The increase was similar with women. The rate for them increased from 0.5 percent in 1990 to 3.4 percent last year.

The trend follows increasingly frequent divorces among the elderly, reflecting a stronger willingness to find a lifetime partner for a second or third time. Divorces registered by men over 50 years old grew from 3,384 in 1990 to 15,517 in 2000 and to 18,791 last year.

As more middle-aged or older couples got divorced than before, the average age during one's first divorce also increased from 35.6 to 38.4 for males and from 31.2 to 33.9 for females, according to a recent survey.

In 2010, 326,000 couples tied the knot while 116,000 other pairs went their separate ways, surging from 42,000 divorces in 1990, according to the statistics agency.

-The Korea Herald/Asia News Network