Japan Data

Having First Child in Their Thirties Now the Norm for Japanese Mothers

Economy Politics Family Health

While life expectancy is increasing in Japan, people are also taking longer before getting married and starting a family.

Japanese women began to enter the workforce in greater numbers after the Equal Employment Opportunity Act came into force in 1986, leading to greater diversity in life choices and values.

Back in 1985, only 10.4% of women in the 30–34 age bracket had yet to get married, as almost 90% of women tied the knot in their twenties. Since then, the percentage of unmarried women has risen gradually; by 2015, 60.1% of women aged 25 to 29 and 72.7% of men of that same age bracket were not yet married. It is no longer unusual for a woman to not get married in her twenties.

In 1985, the average age for marriage in Japan was 25.5 for women and 28.2 for men. By 2019, the average age had increased 4.1 years among women, to 29.6, and 3 years among men, to 31.2.

As people are getting married later, the average age for a woman to give birth to her first child has also risen. It has remained above 30 since 2011, when it reached 30.1, and in the period from 2015 to 2019 it stayed steady at 30.7, which is four years higher than the average in 1985. Giving birth to a first child at a later age also influences whether or not a couple will decide to have a second or a third child.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

population aging demographics childbirth