Less than half of single South Korean men and women said they want to get married, indicating a changing social trend to give up on marriage, statistics office data showed on Friday.
Single men and women who think they should tie the knot stood at 48.1 percent of the total in 2018, down from 51.9 percent two years earlier, according to Statistics Korea data called social indicators.
Women were more reluctant to get married than men. Some 22.4 percent of single women said they should tie the knot, while 36.3 percent of single men answered so.
Those who prefer living together without marriage came in at 56.4 percent of the total single men and women last year, up 8.4 percentage points from two years ago.
The social trend to delay or give up on marriage led to a record low total fertility rate of 0.98 in 2018. The total fertility rate refers to an average number of babies a woman can bear during her lifetime.
It was much lower than the replacement level of 2.1 that is required to keep the country's population of 51 million stable.
The number of couples getting married in 2018 was 257,622, compared with 264,455 in the previous year. It marked the lowest since 1972 when the figure posted 244,780.
The average age of first marriage was 33.2 years for men and 30.4 years for women each in 2018, sharply up from 27.8 years for men and 24.8 years for women tallied in 1990.
Single-person household kept rising. The number of single-person households was 28.6 percent of the total in 2018, up 0.7 percentage points from a year earlier. The reading for households with two members gained 0.5 percentage points to 26.7 percent.