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Demographers have used the term “marriage package” to illustrate the idea that marriage in East Asia entails much more than just a relationship between two people.
In traditional Asian families, numerous intra-familial roles are bundled together, especially for women.
Countries need about 2.1 children per woman to sustain their population. South Korean women will likely soon have the highest female life expectancy; South Korean women born in 2030 are expected to live longer than 90 years.
In Korea, the average births per woman were slightly above one in 2016. Therefore, the Korean population is ageing rapidly.
Once women decide to get married, they are generally expected to prioritize familial responsibilities.
Despite a strong traditional emphasis on marriage, they have begun to postpone and even forgo marriage.
In 2017, Koreans worked an average of 2,024 hours per year, 200 hours less than they did in the previous decade.
To put this number into perspective, Canadians worked 300 hours less a year than Koreans and the French, who are even better at work-life balance, worked 500 fewer hours.
As a result, for many women, being married is no longer an attractive option.
With diminishing returns to gender-specialized marriage for highly educated women, they are likely to delay or forgo marriage.