SEJONG, Nov. 6 (Yonhap) -- The number of international marriages between a South Korean national and a foreigner rose 8.5 percent in 2018 from a year earlier, government data showed Wednesday.
There were 23,773 international marriages last year, up 1,856 from 2017, according to the data by Statistics Korea.
It marked the second straight year that the number of international marriages has increased, and the highest since 2014 when the comparable figure was 24,387.
International marriages began to decrease in 2011 when the South Korean government tightened rules in issuing marriage migrant visas.
International marriages accounted for 9.2 percent of total marriages of 257,622 in South Korea in 2018, up from 0.9 percentage point tallied in the previous year.
Out of the total, couples made up of a South Korean man and a foreign woman accounted for 67 percent last year, followed by foreign male-Korean female pairs with 18.4 percent and couples from naturalized South Koreans with 14.6 percent.
Vietnamese brides took the lion's share of all international marriages at 30 percent in 2018, up 2.3 percentage points tallied in the previous year.
Chinese wives came in second with 21.6 percent, followed by Thai at 6.6 percent.
In comparison, Chinese men accounted for 9.4 percent of foreign males who got married with South Korean women, followed by Americans at 6.2 percent and Vietnamese at 2.5 percent.
The data showed that divorces of international couples fell 0.5 percent to 10,254 in 2018 from a year earlier.
The divorces of international couples accounted for 9.4 percent of total divorces in South Korea in 2018, down 0.3 percentage point tallied in the previous year.
A total of 18,079 mixed-race children were born in 2018, down 2 percent, or 361, from 2017, the data showed. Mixed-race children accounted for 5.5 percent of all children born in South Korea in 2018, up 0.3 percentage point over the cited period.