11/23/2006, 00.00
SOUTH KOREA
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Korean women prefer career to family

by Theresa Kim Hwa-young

This was revealed in a survey commissioned by the Health Ministry of Seoul that is doing its utmost to make the country aware of the serious consequences of an extremely low birth rate and aging population.

Seoul (AsiaNews) – In South Korea, 70% of unmarried women believe their career is much more important than marriage while the same percentage of men believe marriage is "necessary".

This was revealed in a survey published by Embrain, an agency dealing with national statistics, which interviewed 1000 adults of both sexes aged between 19 and 69 years.

The inquiry was commissioned by the Health Ministry of Seoul, which is seeking to increase awareness about problems linked to the seriously low national birth rate and consequent aging population.

According to the 2006 World Population Report released in August by the Population Reference Bureau, South Korean women give birth to an average 1.1 children in their lifetime. The office said the Korean population will drop to below 42.3 million residents by 2050 compared to the current 48 million.

South Koreans aged 65 and over today constitute 10% of the population and the average life expectancy is 74 years for men and 77 for women.

Notwithstanding this scenario, the findings presented by Embrain show that 69.9% of women interviewed prefer a good job to marriage and 62% are not ready to have children.

Meanwhile, 71.2% of men interviewed said marriage was "necessary" while 27.2% – of men – said children were "necessary just for keeping peace in the family".

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