Volume 36 - Article 5 | Pages 145–172  

The changing role of employment status in marriage formation among young Korean adults

By Keuntae Kim


Background: Despite a persistent decline in Korea’s marriage rates over the past three decades, there is a striking lack of research on the transition to marriage among young Koreans. Similarly, few studies have examined how economic determinants have evolved over the past several decades, even as the Korean social and socioeconomic structure has undergone substantial transformation.

Methods: This paper examines changes over time in the determinants of marriage formation in Korea, using employment history data from the Korean Labor and Income Panel Study (KLIPS) on three cohorts of young adults born in the 1950s‒1970s.

Results: Results indicate that, for women, the marital implications of being employed reversed over the three decades examined. While working decreased the odds of getting married for women born in the 1950s, it had no statistically significant effect for those born in the 1960s, and it strongly increased the odds of marriage for the most recent (1970s) cohort of women. For their part, men’s employment not only continued to positively predict getting married over the three decades, but its impact became stronger with each cohort, so that a man’s odds of transition to first marriage was most strongly tied to his employment status for those born in the 1970s, as compared to earlier cohorts.

Contribution: This study contributes to the literature by addressing the relationship between marriage timing and economic resources using more direct measures, examining the association between mandatory military service and marriage formation, and testing if determinants of marriage timing may evolve over time in Korea.

Author's Affiliation

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

Women’s employment trajectories in a low-income setting: Stratification and change in Nepal
Volume 49 - Article 8    | Keywords: Nepal, sequence analysis, women's employment, work trajectory

Subnational variations in births and marriages during the COVID-19 pandemic in South Korea
Volume 48 - Article 30    | Keywords: COVID-19, fertility, Korea, marriage

Introduction to the Special Collection on The new roles of women and men and implications for families and societies
Volume 48 - Article 29    | Keywords: divorce, economic uncertainties, fertility, gender equality, well-being, women's employment

Unemployment and fertility: The relationship between individual and aggregated unemployment and fertility during 1994–2014 in Norway
Volume 46 - Article 35    | Keywords: aggregated unemployment, event history analysis, fertility, individual unemployment, Norway, register data

Coping with ageing: An historical longitudinal study of internal return migrations later in life in the Netherlands
Volume 46 - Article 27    | Keywords: aging, event history analysis, life course, migrations, sequence analysis, trajectories

Cited References: 46

Download to Citation Manager


Google Scholar

Article ID