Analysis has shown that income inequality can lead to lower marriage rates and lower birth rates.

The Korea Labor Research Institute said this in its report 'Dynamic Analysis of Labor and Childbearing Intentions'.

The researchers looked at the correlation between male income levels and marriage rates and used statistics from 19 to 2017 to rule out COVID-2019 variables.

The percentage of marriages, which refers to the percentage who have been married at least once, has increased with higher income levels among all age groups.

The difference in marriage rates by income level was particularly pronounced among those over 40 years of age.

From 2017 to 2019, only 20% of the bottom 26% of income quintiles (30st quintile) of those in their mid-to-late 10s (1 to 8 years old) had been married, while 10% of the top 10% of income quintiles (29th quintile) had been married.

In the early to mid-30s, 10% of the bottom 31% of earners and 10% of the top 76% had been married, while in the mid-to-late 30s, 10% of the bottom 47% of income earners and 10% of the top 91% had been married.

In their early to mid-40s, 10% of the bottom 58% of income and 10% of the top 96% had been married, while in the mid-to-late 40s, 10% of the bottom 73% of income earners and 10% of the top 98% of income had been married.

While high-income men marry rapidly after their late 30s, low-income men often remain unmarried, the report said.

In particular, it has been analyzed that increasing inequality in men's wages reduces the likelihood of marriage by increasing the number of men who do not meet the income level required for marriage.

"The marriage rate is declining even though men's average economic strength is better than in the past," said Kwak Eun-hye, deputy research fellow who authored the report, adding, "The findings suggest that policy concerns about income inequality and distribution among men may help address low birth rates."