Exploring the Diverse Family Structures in South Korea: Experiences and Perspectives of Nonmartial Cohabitants




Byoun, Soo-Jung
Choi, Shinwoo
Kim, Hye-Young

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Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute


Historically, South Korean society has been deeply influenced by Confucianism, which has an emphasis on the traditional family structure. If a given family does not belong in the “traditional” norm, which is composed of husband, wife, and children, they are often discriminated against and ostracized. Despite the increasing number of nonmarital cohabiters in South Korea, research is still insufficient to understand the phenomenon. This study explores the prevalence of nonmarital cohabitation in South Korea, which is still met with discrimination. Online surveys and in-depth interviews were conducted with cohabiters to gain an understanding of the phenomenon and to explore their marriage and family values. The findings of this study indicate that cohabiters who chose cohabitation as an alternative to marriage had more progressive values. Findings from the study provide implications for practice and policy.



cohabitation, diverse families, family planning, policies, South Korea, Social Work


Byoun, S. J., Choi, S., & Kim, H. Y. (2021). Exploring the diverse family structures in South Korea: Experiences and perspectives of nonmartial cohabitants. Societies, 11(03), 90.


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