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Nearly 30% of married female migrants experience depression

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : Jan. 1, 2024 - 15:24

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Marriage migrants are seen preparing rice cake soup. (Unrelated to the article). Marriage migrants are seen preparing rice cake soup. (Unrelated to the article).

Nearly 30 percent of female marriage migrants in South Korea reported experiencing depression, nearly double the rate observed among married Korean women, according to a recent government report.

The study, released on Monday by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, revealed that 27.4 percent of married female immigrants reported experiencing depression, almost double the 14.1 percent observed among their Korean counterparts.

As it pertains to the study, the term "experiencing depression" refers to the percentage of respondents who reported feeling a level of sadness or desperation that significantly impacted their daily lives for more than two weeks within the past year.

Although depression among female marriage migrants has shown a downward trend, declining from 36.7 percent in 2015 and 36.7 percent in 2018 to 27.4 percent in 2021, the level still remained significantly higher compared to their Korean counterparts.

The figures did not vary significantly based on age range, with 28 percent of respondents in their 20s reporting experiences of depression, 27.3 percent in their 30s, 27.4 percent in their 40s, 27.3 percent in their 50s and 26.6 percent in their 60s.

By country of origin, the highest rates of depression were reported among women from the Philippines at 31.5 percent, followed by those from Thailand at 30.2 percent, Cambodia at 30.1 percent, China at 27.9 percent, Vietnam at 25.9 percent, Japan at 23.6 percent and ethnic Koreans from China at 23.3 percent.

The report showed a correlation between lower income and higher rates of depression among married migrant women.

Thirty-eight percent of those with a monthly household income of less than 2 million won ($1,539) suffered from depression. The figures decrease as income levels rise, with 29.3 percent recorded for those earning between 2 million won to 3 million won, 26.4 percent for the 3-4 million won bracket, 24 percent for the 4-5 million won bracket and 22.5 percent for those earning over 5 million.

The study revealed a direct relationship between lower Korean language proficiency and higher rates of depression. Among those with low proficiency in Korean, 31.8 percent of respondents reported experiencing depression, while 23.2 percent of respondents with high language proficiency said they experienced depression.