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Most young singles no longer prefer a marriage in which women become housewives and instead would like them to work, according to a study by an institute affiliated with the welfare ministry.

The National Institution of Population and Social Security Research attributed the findings not only to an increase in working women but also to an erosion in men’s income due to the economic slowdown.

Nearly 90 percent of the poll’s respondents said they want to get married, a level as high as in the previous survey in 1997.

The survey, done every five years, was conducted in June 2002 on about 7,400 randomly selected singles aged 18 to 34.

A survey 15 years ago showed that the most popular option for women was to stay home after marriage. This was also the most popular choice for men for their mates.

However, in the latest survey, such hopes were expressed only by 19 percent of men, down 15 percentage points from 15 years ago, and by 18 percent of women, down 20 percentage points from that time.

Instead, 37 percent of women said they want to be rehired after taking time off to raise children, a move supported by 47 percent of men.

The proportion of men who said they want women to go to work and do housework concurrently for the first time topped that of those expressing preference for women being just housewives.

As for women, those who said they want men to be capable of housework and child-rearing rose to 95.0 percent from 89.7 percent five years earlier, and 92.4 percent also said they want men to be supportive of women working, up from 88.4 percent.

Asked if they want to get married, 87 percent of men replied yes, up from 85.9 percent, while the percentage of women who said yes increased among those in their 20s but edged down overall.

The institute said young singles appear to no longer see more merit in single life than in marriage.