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International Marriages in South Korea


Intercultural / international marriages are on the rise in many countries around the world. South Korea is no exception. Please click on the link(s) to read the scholarly article of  Yean-Ju Lee† (University of Hawaii),  Dong-Hoon Seol (Chonbuk National University, Korea), and Sung-Nam Cho (Ewha Womans University, Korea)

International marriage has increased drastically in South Korea in recent years, and by 2005, 13.6 per cent of marriages involved a foreign spouse. The purpose of this study is twofold: « to explore the demographic demand and supply of foreign spouses in the marriage market in South Korea, and to examine how social positions of foreign wives vary by their place in the marriage market as determined by their nationality and ethnicity. Data show that the demand for foreign spouses is particularly strong among rural never-married and urban divorced Korean men. Among foreign wives, Chinese, especially Korean Chinese, tend to marry divorced Koreans, partly because many of them have also been married before. The Korean Chinese are the most autonomous among five groups of foreign wives examined, showing the highest rates of Korean citizenship, divorce–separation, and employment. Southeast Asian women tend to marry rural never-married men, and they are the most adaptive to the host society in the way they show among the highest rates of Korean citizenship and employment (after controlling for their poor Korean proficiency and short duration in Korea). Their divorce–separation rate is the lowest regardless of such control. This study demonstrates that marriage migrants’ adaptation to the host society differs significantly by nationality and ethnic origin. »

Click here to access the study.

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