The Word Works

Consuming Japan


Why are so many unmarried?

Published By: wordworker on 05/30/06
Categories: Consumers

Of Japanese in their early 30s, 40% of men and 30% of women are single. Why? This chart illustrates shrinking opportunities to meet a suitable partner.image

According to the Asahi ShimbunMay 26, 2006 morning edition story from which this chart is taken, Low income is a barrier, opportunities to meet are few. The numbers in the hearts are the average number of women, aged 20-34, married in each of the years in the periods covered (1970-74, 1985-1989, 00-02). The cakes tell us how they got married. From top to bottom layer: (1) meeting at school, during part time work, or during club activities, (2) through friends or siblings, (3) at the workplace, (4) through omiai, arranged meetings between prospects.  The bar-chart at the bottom shows why men and women say they don’t get married. Again, from top to bottom: (1) Haven’t found the right person, (2) Don’t see the need, (3) Fear loss of freedom and fun, (4) Want time for hobbies and recreation, (5) Not enough money to marry.


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