Japan Data

Single Living Trend Continues to Grow in Japan


More Japanese people are choosing not to marry.

An increasing number of Japanese people are reaching the age of 50 without ever marrying. In the immediate postwar era, when it was taken as read that adults would wed and start a family, only around 1% of the population were still single at 50. A 2015 census, however, found that 23.4% of men, one in four, reached this life landmark without tying the knot.

The trend for remaining single spiked in the 1990s. This has been attributed to the coming into effect of the Equal Employment Opportunity Act in 1986, as more Japanese women started to attain financial independence. Shifting attitudes are also thought to have contributed, making the single life a more generally accepted option. At the same time, social ills such as rises in nonregular employment and other threats to job security, and a weakening of interpersonal ties are said to have influenced the figures.

The number of people remaining unmarried has spurred on the decline in the birthrate, another major social issue in Japan, and may lead to many elderly persons living alone in the future with no one to care for them. While the decision to marry or remain single is ultimately a personal one, this issue is starting to affect society as a whole.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: Michael/Pixta.)

population birthrate marriage