The Korea Herald

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Ideal spouse material? Above-average salary, height and office job

To be considered an ideal spouse, one should possess a combination of lofty qualities from personality to wealth

By No Kyung-min

Published : Dec. 6, 2023 - 15:39

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According to a survey of single men and women of Korean nationality, the ideal husband should be earning an annual salary exceeding 60 million won ($45,745) and have a height of 178.7 centimeters, while the ideal wife should earn around 44 million won annually and be 164.2 centimeters tall.

The survey, conducted by matchmaking agency Duo on Korean singles between 25 and 39, also showed that both men and women prefer their partner to be working in an office setting.

Around 45 percent of males and 43.6 percent of females in the survey expressed a preference for an ideal spouse working in an office, followed by 34.9 percent and 30.8 percent, respectively, who wish for their ideal spouse to be working in public service or institutions.

Although the highest percentage of both genders consider “personality” to be the most crucial quality (77.2 percent of men and 73.8 percent of women), with “values” ranking second (57.4 percent of men and 55.4 percentage of women), about 50 percent of men prioritize their spouse’s appearance compared to 42.2 percent of women who look for their partner’s financial means.

Other important qualities young singles look for in the ideal spouse include annual salary, height, wealth, a specific age difference and academic achievement.

The reality though is somewhat different from young Koreans' ideals: The average annual income of Koreans aged 30-34 is 46.19 million won, according to Labor Ministry data, whereas the average height of a Korean man is only 172.5 centimeters, and for women, it's only 159.6 centimeters.

Though the majority of Korean men (54.2 percent) do not consider their spouse's height a crucial factor, a significant number of Korean women (34 percent) prefer their partner to be in the range of 180 to 185 centimeters tall.

In terms of already accumulated wealth, the ideal couple is expected to have wealth amounting to at least 334.9 million won and 216.9 million won for the husband and wife, respectively. Yet, over one-third of men and women (36 percent and 30.8 percent) did not view their spouse's wealth as an important factor.

Additionally, for the male respondents, they generally expected their ideal wife to be two to three years younger than they are, while for female respondents, they expected their ideal husband to be two years older than they are. For both genders, their ideal partners should hold four-year bachelor's degrees.

Amid many lofty ideals, an official from the marriage agency emphasized that the standards set by young singles in their 20s and 30s are high, asking people to consider these qualifications as "just ideal" rather than "absolute necessities" for a successful marriage.