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Japan

Decreasing Number Of Children

On average, Japanese women have 1.35 children, one of the lowest birth rates in the world, as of 2000. The decline in birth rates has brought a drastic decrease in the younger population. The major reasons that women do not have children are financial: the high cost of childcare, education, and housing of an adequate size. Another factor has to do with the isolation women feel from the outside society once they are mothers. They are expected to quit their jobs to bring up children. In Japanese society, childcare, especially for children under six, is considered the mother's role. This social norm is called Bosei shinwa. The increase of child abuse by parents (more often by mothers) is a sign of this isolation. Social services for children are not sufficient, and the sole responsibility for childcare is a heavy burden by women.

Many women have only one or two children, few enough so that they are able to stay home to nurture and educate them adequately. Many parents want their children to excel in academic endeavors and pass the rigorous examinations to get into distinguished universities.

Adult children often continue to live with their parents even after they have completed their education. Those adults who stay with parents as dependents are called parasite singles, a phrase coined by Masahiro Yamaguchi of Tokyo Metropolitan University. They are supported by their parents and given a place to live and money for food, clothes, and entertainment. Eighty percent of women and 60 percent of men in their twenties fit this category. Parents prefer children to live at home; because they have a small number of children, they are uneasy to about living by themselves, and children can take care of them when they get sick.


Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaMarriage: Cultural AspectsJapan - Mating And Marriage, Gender Roles, Masculinity And Men's Suicide, Decreasing Number Of Children - Leave for Working Parents, Conclusion