NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

JAPANESE ESCHEW MARRIAGE FOR SINGLE-LIFE

June 7, 2004

More Japanese men and women are eschewing relationships and marriage in favor of the single life, and the country's declining birthrate means that fewer working-age Japanese will support an exploding elderly population.

As fewer Japanese choose to marry and have children, the nation may soon face a "demographic crisis":

  • Fifty-four percent of Japanese women in their late 20s are single, up from 30.6 percent in 1985; about half of single women ages 35 to 54 have no plans to marry.
  • The average Japanese couple now produces just 1.32 children, far below the minimum 2.08 needed to grow the population.
  • Japan's divorce rate rose from 1.3 per 1,000 people to 2.3 between 1990 and 2002.
  • Japan now has four working-age people to support one of today's retirees, but by mid-century that ratio will have dropped to two workers per retiree.

Growing numbers of young Japanese workers"particularly women" are choosing to live at home, rent-free, while spending their money on designer clothes and vacations abroad. These "parasite singles" tend to avoid dating; many women claim that there simply aren't enough good men to marry.

Source: Paul Wiseman, "No sex please - we're Japanese," USA Today, June 3, 2004.

 

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