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Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to the Asian countries - China, The Philippines, Thailand, etc.
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4 in 10 newly-wed wives in rural areas are immigrants
By Bae Ji-sook
About four in 10 newly-wed males living in rural areas married foreign spouses, mostly from other Asian countries, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family said Tuesday.
Wives are usually much younger than their husbands and many were suffering from financial difficulties, the authorities said.
A total of 8,569 males in suburban areas got married last year, of which 41 percent had migrant wives, mainly from Vietnam, China, the Philippines and other Asian countries.
Since Cambodia has recently banned its nationals from marrying Koreans, the number of Cambodian-Korean couples has significantly dropped.
Most of these migrant spouses entered Korea to be married, suggesting that the majority of the cases were pre-arranged by agencies, brokers or mutual friends.
Meanwhile, as of May last year, 167,090 foreigners married Koreans and among them, 41,417 were naturalized with Korean citizenship. About 81.1 percent of the marriages have taken place since 2000.
Ethic-Korean Chinese accounted for the lionâ€™s share with 30 percent, followed by Vietnam with 20 percent, the Philippines with 6.6 percent, Japan at 4.1 percent, Cambodia down to 2 percent.
Wives were younger than their husbands by more than 10 years ― Cambodian brides on average were 17.5 years younger than their Korean spouses, followed by Vietnamese with an average 17 year-age gap.
They were introduced to their husbands through acquaintances or interracial matchmaking agencies.
About 3.2 percent ended up in divorce while 4 percent were widowed within an average of 4.7 years into their marriage.
They cited irreconcilable differences, financial difficulties, infidelity, abuse, domestic violence and other infractions as the cause for divorce.
A ministry official said migrant spouses, who are less informed of the local laws, easily become accused of causing the divorce though the liability is with their Korean spouses.
The ministry furthered the research by surveying 73,669 households of interracial marriages.
Most of the female spouses said the language barrier, economic difficulties and childrearing issues were their largest obstacles.
They said the longer they stayed in Korea, the loneliness would go away and communication levels would increase but their financial difficulties still linger.
Financial issues were indeed serious as 38.4 percent of them made between 1 million won and 2 million won a month and 21.3 percent made less than 1 million, compared to an average Korean household earning 3.3 million won.
The guys marrying out are low social status and live in rural areas. Most young korean women go to the cities. This leaves a gender imbalance in the countryside. Korea used to have a really serious gender imbalance that they largely corrected in the 90's but it is still pretty noticeable in rural cities/towns. Also, the last thing a Korean woman wants to do is marry a farmer and move out there.
As of 2009, according to Korea National Statistical Office, the average age of first marriage is 31.6 for men and 28.7 for women.
Sociopolitics of marriage
In a large number of marriages, the male is older than the female. This age disparity is usually intentional. The woman always seeks a man who is at least equal to if not higher than her in socio-economic status. Rarely does an arranged marriage happen where the man is lower than the woman in socio-economic status, class or by height.
International marriages of Koreans and non-Koreans
There were 43,121 international marriages between Koreans and non-Koreans in 2005, up 21.6 percent from a year earlier, according to Korea National Statistics Office data published in the Korea Times newspaper on March 30, 2006.  14% of couples who married in 2005 were international couples. The majority of them involve South Korean males married to foreign females, from China, Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, United States, Mongolia, Thailand, and Russia. The foreign males married to Korean females are from Japan, China, the United States, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Nepal. Between 1990 and 2005, there have been 159,942 Korean males and 80,813 Korean females married to foreigners.
Brides imported from China, Vietnam, and elsewhere
In recent times, about one third of South Korean men in rural areas married women from abroad, according to Korea National Statistics Office data published in the Chosun Daily newspaper on March 30, 2006 .
Brides have come to South Korea mainly from China and Vietnam. The most common explanation for this phenomenon is that there is a lack of South Korean women who are willing to marry men living in rural areas. Chinese citizens who are ethnic Koreans (called "Joseon-jok" by South Koreans) and Vietnamese are preferred as imported brides. Joseon-jok from China have the same ethnic background as Koreans, and some South Koreans believe that Vietnamese women look relatively similar to Koreans. Also, many South Koreans believe that these groups of women are willing to move to South Korea for economic reasons, are more capable of adapting to their new environment compared to women from other countries, and become dedicated and loyal wives.
Economic factors play a strong role in these marriages, as it is usually less educated Korean men from rural areas who marry mostly less educated and poor foreign brides.
Marriages between South Korean men and foreign women are often arranged by marriage brokers or international religious groups. There is mounting evidence to suggest that there is a statistically higher level of poverty, violence and divorce in the Korean men married to foreign women cohort.
Newspaper ad in SK, "Why Marry a Vietnamese (mail order bride)?"
"They smell very nice" (no kimichi breath!)
"They have the best bodies in the world" (actually, most poor peasant Vietnamese girls are flat as a wash-board)
"They never divorce" (yeah right)
I've never heard anything good about korean women. When south korea's economy took off in the 90's the birth rate dropped 70% in ten years. All the women rushed into the work force to make the big bucks. Now the birth rate is the worlds lowest.