Photo: Pakutaso
lifestyle

Rate of young Japanese people who want to get married someday drops to lowest ever in survey

26 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Every five years the Japanese government’s National Institute of Population and Social Security Research conducts a survey on attitudes about marriage and having children. The most recent study’s results have just been released and enthusiasm for both of those family-forming activities has cooled compared to the last iteration.

Responses were collected from 7,862 single men and women between the ages of 18 and 34. When asked how they feel about the idea of getting married, 17.3 percent of the men and 14.6 percent of the women replied “I have no intention of ever getting married,” increases of 5.3 and 6.6 percent over the previous poll. On the other end of the spectrum, 81.4 percent of the men and 84.3 percent of the women said “I want to get married someday,” both of which were the lowest numbers since the survey was first conducted in 1982.

The most dramatic change, though, came when respondents were asked about having kids after marriage. 55 percent of the men and 36.6 percent of the women felt that “If you get married, you should then have kids,” representing a drop of approximately 20 percent for men and roughly 30 percent for women compared to just five years ago. Even those who do want kids want fewer of them. When participants who do have a romantic partner they’re thinking about marrying were asked how many children they hope to have, the average for men was 1.91, down from 1.82 in last study, and for women it was 1.79, down from 2.02, marking the first time in the survey’s history for the average desired number of children to fall below 2.

▼ Too many kids, according to the survey average

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Photo: Pakutaso

Though marriages and births are both on continuing downward trends in Japan, there are a couple of things worth bearing in mind that make the results a little more complex than just “Japanese people aren’t interested in romance and making babies.” As mentioned above, the survey is conducted once every five years, but the results being announced now were actually collected in 2021, the first full year of the pandemic in Japan. Considering that vaccines for the coronavirus didn’t become widely available until the second half of 2021, it’s understandable that even fewer people than usual would have been fantasizing about getting married, seeing as how many single people’s love lives were put on hold during extensive social distancing initiatives.

The pandemic likely had a similar effect on the prospect of having kids, and especially the idea of having many kids. Japanese homes tend to be small, without a whole lot of extra space designed into the floor plan. In 2021, working from home had become the new normal for many people, but the sudden shift meant that many people’s “offices” were a makeshift workspace crammed into a corner of their living room. With space in Japanese homes at even more of a premium than usual, the idea of adding multiple kids into the picture, perhaps attending class remotely from home themselves, probably wasn’t particularly appealing, or at least was less appealing than it will be once families return to a lifestyle where not everyone is inside the home almost all day long.

Sources: Asahi Shimbun Digital via Yahoo! Japan News via OtakomuYahoo! Japan News/Tele Asa News

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Roughly 40 percent of single Japanese men in their 20s have never been on a date, survey says

-- Japanese guys way more enthusiastic about moving in with girlfriends than vice-versa, survey says

-- Should people in Japan be allowed to keep their surnames after getting married, survey asks

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

26 Comments
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Naisu! Looks like Nihon is leading the way again! How long before rest of the sekai follows them as usual?

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Having family? Even now people are having difficulty to support themselves. Wage still the same, price increase more and more in Japan.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2022/08/22/national/japan-household-budgets-inflation/

5 ( +9 / -4 )

this is actually a worldwide trend, and the population decline has 2 main reasons.

First urbanization. When you are on the farm, an extra kid is a helping hand. When you are in the city, its an extra mouth to feed.

Second women's empowerment. When women have more control over their lives, they tend to have less children and later in life- or not at all.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

The government appears to be doing its best to make marriage and child rearing as difficult and expensive as they can possibly do, the results of the survey are hardly surprising.

The pandemic may have a role, but this is something that has been happening for a long time already, so it is not like they can blame teleworking or social distancing for this. It is much more likely that people just see how their peers that get married and have children have extra difficulties every single day of their lives without any significative support from the government and understandably think they don't want their lives to be like that.

No job security, low wages, reduced living space, no places to take care of the children, employees getting negative consequences from using their paternal leave, etc. etc.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

Good. If you feel that you are not ready to get married, dont. These numbers show that Japanese are thinking before they act. It is smart.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Some good stuff here, some bad, and a lot of projection about what it means.

To state what should be obvious, getting married and not having kids is a perfectly valid choice. There is no correct form of family. However, not having kids should be an active choice and not a passive one with a driving force of "we can't afford kids". That is not progress.

In 2021, working from home had become the new normal for many people, but the sudden shift meant that many people’s “offices” were a makeshift workspace crammed into a corner of their living room. With space in Japanese homes at even more of a premium than usual, the idea of adding multiple kids into the picture, perhaps attending class remotely from home themselves, probably wasn’t particularly appealing, or at least was less appealing than it will be once families return to a lifestyle where not everyone is inside the home almost all day long.

Japan has literally millions of empty family homes with enough rooms for working from home and raising a family. Since we are talking "working from home", the fact that essentially none of these houses are within a one hour commute of Tokyo should be irrelevant. If properly embraced, working from home could make raising a family far easier, with the added bonus of revitalizing the countryside.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Japan is not a place to raise a family. It's a wonderful place to remain single, though...

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

It is one part poor economy making it a financial issue. The other part is a generation raised on smart devices and social media. It has produced entitled young people who receive poor parenting, lack poor social skills, are impatient.

Poor parenting means they were not told "No" often (real world is full of setbacks)

Poor social skills means no real relationships

Impatience means they want everything immediately (love, career, success, etc...)

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I work for a respectable company and earn a decent wage (for rural Kyushu). Yet after paying the mortgage, bills, buying necessities, saving a bit etc., there is not much left over. I see coworkers who earn less than me, maybe around 230,000yen per month, who have four kids and two cars, wife not working etc., and I just have no idea how they afford it.

I would never have kids here unless I was pulling in at least 800,000yen per month after deductions. And that is never going to happen.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

@David

I work for a respectable company and earn a decent wage (for rural Kyushu). Yet after paying the mortgage, bills, buying necessities, saving a bit etc., there is not much left over. I see coworkers who earn less than me, maybe around 230,000yen per month, who have four kids and two cars, wife not working etc., and I just have no idea how they afford it.

I would never have kids here unless I was pulling in at least 800,000yen per month after deductions. And that is never going to happen.

Rent makes up a large part of people's expenses. If you living in your parent's house, you received an inheritance, or you inherited your families home then it will go a long way to provide for a family.

Those people are benefiting from the family support that most foreigners in Japan do not have.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

They want to become in fact global pioneers and show how and that an economically downgrading and slowing aging ‘grey haired’ society without children can exist successfully. Of course that’s full nonsense, but they stubbornly follow that goal and it’s getting more and more difficult to turn the rudder around if they should realize the cardinal errors in that logic one day.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

As a man who's married to a japanese woman I can relate to this sentiment.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The government appears to be doing its best to make marriage and child rearing as difficult and expensive as they can possibly do, the results of the survey are hardly surprising.

The pandemic may have a role, but this is something that has been happening for a long time already, so it is not like they can blame teleworking or social distancing for this. It is much more likely that people just see how their peers that get married and have children have extra difficulties every single day of their lives without any significative support from the government and understandably think they don't want their lives to be like that.

No job security, low wages, reduced living space, no places to take care of the children, employees getting negative consequences from using their paternal leave, etc. etc.

100% correct.

Japan has literally millions of empty family homes with enough rooms for working from home and raising a family. Since we are talking "working from home", the fact that essentially none of these houses are within a one hour commute of Tokyo should be irrelevant. If properly embraced, working from home could make raising a family far easier, with the added bonus of revitalizing the countryside.

absolutely! I concur!

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

I wonder what people in the developing world, which has much higher birth rates, would think of the Japanese' attitudes towards child bearing? To them this would seem a great place to have a family. And I'd agree with them.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

How long before rest of the sekai follows them as usual?

Apologies if I've misunderstood, but is this a joke? When have the rest of the world followed Japan?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I work for a respectable company and earn a decent wage (for rural Kyushu). Yet after paying the mortgage, bills, buying necessities, saving a bit etc., there is not much left over. I see coworkers who earn less than me, maybe around 230,000yen per month, who have four kids and two cars, wife not working etc., and I just have no idea how they afford it.

I see families like this too and it must be grandparental support. It's the only way.

I would never have kids here unless I was pulling in at least 800,000yen per month after deductions. And that is never going to happen.

If you want Western style family holidays (say 10 days in Okinawa or Bali during summer, ski trips in winter), yearly trips to overseas grandparents, sending your kids to summer camp, a decent sized bedroom for each child, etc. then yes, you'll need 700,000 yen plus a month in household income to do it. We have three kids, the eldest is SHS and lives in a dorm, two cars, and we live simply on less than that, needing 450,000 yen plus our mortgage to break even. We never have holidays or sadly overseas family trips, but it's still a happy life. Taking all five of us to the UK, even on the cheapest route via the Middle East (which is very tiring with children), to see my mother costs one million yen for the flight alone. Once in the UK, its 15000 yen a day for car rental. Taking more direct flights, three weeks of car rental, and transport to and from Narita and we're looking at two million yen just for transport. The temptation then is to simply not go.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Japan is not an ideal place to raise a family. Stagnant wages, overwork, work discrimination over getting pregnant and taking your rightful maternity and paternity leave, lack of daycare services, shoebox accommodations lack of parks with proper playgrounds...who'd want to raise a kid in this environment?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The global population is 7.97 billion people, and expected to reach 8 billion by 15 November of 2022. When I was born, the global population was less than 1/3rd of what it is today. That people are having fewer children, at least in some countries, should be celebrated.

The article mentions getting married and then having children. In Scandinavia it is very common to have children first. The idea of getting married is less important. It does not mean that they do not care about the children.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A lot of jobs many young Japanese do aren't well paid. Many are living from paycheck to paycheck. No surprises that the rate of young Japanese wanting to marry someday has dropped. There are also expensive schemes they must pay into such as health insurance and pension. These schemes take a fair chunk out of their pay. What's concerning is the pension scheme may collapse as less people are working and an elderly population is increasing. I always wonder how do the average Japanese build wealth. Back in my day in Australia all you had to do is buy property in the early 1990s and if you still have that property you will be very happy. The value has gone up at least 6 to 10 times its value from the original price you paid for. People have done well with real estate but in Japan it seems you have to save, pay into a pension system which may collapse.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That's why you saw men of 50+ were enlisted in the JGSDF infantryman. Few young people already and that wasn't a promising job!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@1glenn

When I was born, the global population was less than 1/3rd of what it is today.

So you were born in or before 1951, the last year the world had less than 2.6 million people.

That people are having fewer children, at least in some countries, should be celebrated.

Given that you're at least 71 years old, and young people are paying your pension, you should probably not cheer for the world to have less of them.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Roy Sophveason

Given that you're at least 71 years old, and young people are paying your pension, you should probably not cheer for the world to have less of them.

No, I worked for more than 60 years and paid my taxes, health insurance, and others. I know it works like a Ponzi scheme.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Education costs are another factor. Years of paying for juku, then paying for HS, then paying for college. This is crippling for families and is the main reason why me and my neighbors won't be having more children. Most families can only really afford the education costs for one kid these days, and it's not going to get any easier.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The reality is when you have children you will aspire to higher income jobs as opposed to having them first. I was ver low income when I had my first kid and it affected all my later choices. You have to put yourself last as opposed to first. Totally exhausted.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Pandemics, lockdowns, shortages, sectors wiped out, climate change, inflation, homeworking, energy rationing, travel restricted, wars, floods, droughts, heat waves, sanctions.

I can understand people not having any hope for the future - I don't either. And who would want to bring a kid into such a world?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Marriage is an luxury goods these days, only if you have acweakthy parebts

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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