Emerging Pattern of Cohabitation in Korea: Delayed Registration of Marriage

Yean-Ju Lee, University of Hawaii at Honolulu

Whether it is called de-facto marital relationship or cohabitation, unregistered unions are increasing in Korea. According to marriage registration data, among those who wedded in 1997, 2.4% of the couples of first marriages register their marriages one and half years or more later than the actual wedding date, whereas almost one in five (18.7%) couples whose both spouses were previously divorced have such a long delay. The differentials by previous marital experiences support the institutional explanation of cohabitation. This study explores various circumstances related to such non-registered union status (either delay in or lack of marriage registration), and discusses the theoretical and social implications. We use data from two sources, from the entire cases of marriage registration between 1991 and 2005, and from a national survey, Social Statistical Survey conducted in 2006, which for the first time specifically asked whether the respondent’s union is registered in the family registration system.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 6