Vietnamese Pass Chinese As Imported Korean Brides

The number of women from Vietnam who marry Korean men outnumbered those from China for the first time in 2011, according to a recent report by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs.

A total of 7,636 Vietnamese women married Korean men in 2011 while those from China numbered 7,549. That was the first year in which Chinese brides fell from the top spot. In 2002 they had been far and away the most numerous foreign brides, at 7,023, while Vietnamese brides numbered just 474, behind 838 Filipinas and 690 Japanese.

The rising trend among Vietnamese brides suffered a lull of several years after reports in 2007 of several who were beaten to death by Korean husbands, prompting the Vietnamese government to halt international outmarriages, according to Chosun Ilbo. But the rising trend resumed in 2010 when the number of Vietnamese brides were exactly tied with Chinese at 9,623 apiece.

There has also been a modest rise in the number of brides coming from Cambodia, the Philippines and several other Southeast Asian nations.

Because the Vietnamese wives are on average about 20 years younger than their Korean husbands, they are expected to carry the burden of supporting their families within the next two decades. Children born to Vietnamese mothers are now reaching school age. Both trends are prompting the government to look into programs to aid in the integration of the wives and their children into Korean society.

Currently about 2% of S. Korea’s long-term residents were born overseas.