Record low number of young singles in Japan plan to marry, survey says

This is a blow to Japan's push to reverse its low fertility rate as its population rapidly ages. PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO - A record low number of young singles in Japan say they plan to get married someday, in a new blow to the Asian nation's push to reverse its low fertility rate as its population rapidly ages.

About 81 per cent of men and 84 per cent of women aged between 18 to 34 who have never married, said they intend to tie the knot at some point, according to a birth trends survey by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, carried out in 2021 and released on Sept 9.

The figures compare to 86 per cent and 89 per cent for men and women respectively the last time the survey was conducted in 2015, and are the lowest since the study began in 1982.

The survey also found the average number of children young singles wished to have fell to 1.82 from 1.91 for men, and 1.79 from 2.02 for women.

While women opting to have fewer children is a global phenomenon, Japan's aging population and its lack of mass immigration makes sustaining social security and the workforce a particularly difficult task. Total births in the world's third-largest economy fell to a record low last year.

Other findings from the survey included:

  • The average number of children that women aged under 50 in their first marriage intend to have remained unchanged at 2.01
  • Those who married after meeting online, such as via dating apps, rose to 14 per cent from 6 per cent
  • The poll, which is usually conducted every five years but was pushed back a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, received 4,086 responses from 18 to 34 year-olds who have never married, and surveyed 6,834 married women below 55. BLOOMBERG

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