Family policy in South Korea: Development, implementation, and evaluation

Meejung Chin, Jaerim Lee, Soyoung Lee, Seohee Son, Miai Sung

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This chapter describes the sociohistoric context of Korean families and the policymaking process of family policy in South Korea (officially the Republic of Korea, Korea hereafter). Until very recently, Korean families, influenced by Confucianism, have been the primary safety net and care providers with little or no assistance from the government. Recent demographic changes including low fertility, an increasingly aging population, a decrease in marriage, and an increase in divorce and transnational marriages have all contributed to social problems which need a more comprehensive and universal family policy. Major amendments to the marriage law in the Civil Law have eliminated a traditional patriarchal headship system of the family and provided equal opportunity for male and female household headship. This law has also been amended to require divorcing couples to have a period of consideration and to come to a financial settlement for child support. In addition, there have been significant improvements in the family-work balance policy and elderly policy. The newly legislated Framework Act on Healthy Families and the Multicultural Family Support Act provide strength-based and preventive family programs and services to families. Special services for families at risk have been expanded to include low-income families, single parents, and families who have members with special needs or who struggle with domestic violence. Based on these achievements, we can conclude that significant progress in family policy has been made during the last 10 years in Korea. Nevertheless, family policy should continue to develop and be more carefully designed and implemented to encourage men to be more engaged in family life and to shift the strong Korean work-oriented culture to a more family-oriented culture. Furthermore, an evidence-based policy should be sought to encourage positive effects and outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Family Policies Across the Globe
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781461467717
ISBN (Print)9781461467700
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Aging
  • Asian Financial Crisis
  • Basic Old-Age Pension
  • Certified Healthy Family Specialist
  • Child care leave
  • Child care policies
  • Child care subsidy
  • Child support
  • Child-rearing allowance
  • Civil Law
  • Comprehensive family policy
  • Divorce law
  • Domestic violence
  • Elderly care
  • Elderly care services
  • Elderly policy
  • Evidence-based policy
  • Families with special needs
  • Family law
  • Family life education and counseling
  • Family policy development
  • Family policy evaluation
  • Family policy implementation
  • Family-friendly social environment
  • Family-friendly workplace
  • Family-work (balance) policy
  • Fertility
  • Flextime
  • Framework Act on Healthy Families
  • Gender equality
  • Healthy Family Support Centers
  • Healthy families
  • Korea
  • Korean families
  • Long-Term Care Insurance for Senior Citizens
  • Low-income families
  • Marriage law
  • Maternity leave
  • Ministry of Gender Equality and Family
  • Multicultural Family Support Act
  • Multicultural Family Support Centers
  • Multicultural families
  • On-site child care
  • Parental leave
  • Paternity leave
  • Policies for senior citizens
  • Reduced work schedule
  • Single-parent families
  • South Korea
  • The Republic of Korea
  • Transnational marriage
  • Universal family policy
  • Work time policies


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