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Monday, April 19, 2004

(Family and kin) The correct divorce rate?

(Munhwa Ilbo, via Media Daum.) Seems there's been some confusion about the correct divorce rate in South Korea; the Statistics Office has reportedly come up with the figure of 47% by simply counting the yearly number of marriages and divorces. Now the Court Administration (?, 법원행정처) suggests that the figure is mistaken.

As far as I know, the most common way of calculating the frequency of divorces is to compare the number of divorces to population of 1000; as the number of marriages compared to for example Western European nations is big, so the number of divorces also tends to look big. That number was 3.0 in Korea in 2002, 2.8 in Denmark and 2.1 in the Netherlands.
법원행정처는 19일 우리의 결혼 대비 이혼율이 47.4%로 매년 결 혼하는 2쌍 가운데 1쌍이 이혼한다는 지난해 통계분석은 잘못된 것이라고 지적했다. 즉 만약 어느해에 결혼인구가 급격히 준다면 이혼율이 100%가 넘을 수도 있다는 것. 지난해 제기된 ‘이혼율 47.4%’주장은 2002년 한해동안 전국에서 결혼한 사람이 30만66 00쌍이고 이혼한 사람은 14만5300쌍이었으므로 이를 단순 비교해 나온 수이다. 그러나 배우자가 있는 전국의 인구는 2202만 3804 명(사실혼 포함), 즉 1101만 1902쌍이고 이 중14만 5300쌍이 이 혼했으므로 이혼율은 1.3%가 맞다는 반론이 제기되고 있다.
법원행정처는 이런 집계방식의 문제점을 개선, 특정 시점 혼인경 력자의 총 혼인횟수를 분모로, 동일 시점 이혼 경력자의 총 이혼 횟수를 분자로 계산하는 방식을 제시했다. 이 방식에 따르면 올 1월말 현재 국내 혼인경력자의 총 혼인횟수는 2815만 6405건, 총 이혼횟수는 262만3659건으로 이혼율은 9.3%이다.
So the suggested way of calculating the divorce rate is to compare the number of married persons (혼인경력자의 총 혼인횟수는) which was +28 million to the number of divorces which was 2.6 million, which gives the divorce rate of 9.3%.
What do we learn? That it's all up to the interpretation of the statistics and the method of counting.

Couple of other articles on the subject, linked from Media Daum:
"Ministry of Welfare: Statistic Office's divorce rate calculations unprecise"
• "Divorces due to economic difficulties increasing" (video stream of a SBS news piece included in the link)

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