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A 2013 survey found that South Korean couples spent an average of US,000 getting hitched - including venue costs, wedding gifts for in-laws and other items.The economic burden does not end with the nuptials, either.A survey by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs published in early January found that as of 2012, the latest year for which figures are available, less than 40 per cent of 20- to 44-year-olds were actively dating.The proportion in traditional marriages is even lower.

"If the son's family has a famous name or the son is a doctor [then] that family can expect a large payment from the female's family because they think they deserve some kind of tax from others for their perceived 'high status' in society," said the 34-year-old.

"When I meet people for the first time, they ask me why I'm not married.

It's especially common for older Koreans to ask these questions," she said, adding that the younger generation tends to find such queries rude and unnecessary.

A culture that prioritises work and study over relationships is another oft-cited reason for South Koreans staying single.

OECD data showed that in 2017, the average South Korean worked nearly 250 hours more than counterparts in the US, and 424 hours more than those in Germany.

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