Spousal difference in education and marital dissolution among transnational couples in South Korea 2020

Spousal difference in education and marital dissolution among transnational couples in South Korea 2020

Cross-border marriages in Korea and Asian countries appear to differ widely from those in other part of the world. One of the distinctive features is that spousal difference in education is substantial among transnational couples, and another is that their marriages are less secure and of short duration compared to those between Korean nationals. This presentation is composed of two parts. The first part provides a brief summary of the trends in cross-border marriage in Asia and South Korea, its distinctive patterns, some of the causal factors, key features and diversity. The second part of the presentation focuses on recent findings on marital dissolution of transnational couples in South Korea. Utilising marriage and divorce registration data between 2004 and 2014, this study analyses whether educational dissimilarity of transnational couples affects marital duration and the risk of divorce. Results show that foreign wife’s education is a stabiliser of cross-border marriage, revealing a general pattern of positive relationship with duration of marriage. Foreign wives with more education have a significantly lower risk of divorce. An interesting finding is that wife-more-educated couples tend to last longer in general, while marriages with a more educated husband show a lower risk of divorce. When the foreign wife, Chinese wife in particular, is more educated than her Korean husband, their marriage tends to last longer but reveals a higher risk of divorce at the same time. Theoretical and policy implications of these findings will be discussed.

Doo-Sub Kim  is Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Sociology at Hanyang University, Seoul. He is Director of the Center for SSK Multicultural Research, and was President, Asian Population Association, Thailand from 2016-2018. His areas of specialisation include Social Demography, Research and Survey Methods and Social Statistics.




Date & time

Tue 04 Feb 2020, 11.30am–12.30pm


Jean Martin Room, Beryl Rawson Bldg #13, Ellery Circuit, ANU


Professor Doo-Sub Kim, Hanyang University


Susan Cowan


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