Statistics recently released by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry show that the number of single parents is on the increase, and has been since 2006. This makes sense since the divorce rate is also rising, but what’s makes the statistics noteworthy is that more and more single mothers are women who have either never been married or were married but gave birth after their marriage ended.
Right now, the ministry estimates there are about 1,520,000 households in Japan headed by single monthers, and about 200,000 headed by single fathers. Though the statistics are a bit old, the Ministry of Internal Affairs conducted surveys of “never-married” single mothers in 2000 and 2005, and between those two years the number of single mothers between the ages of 15 and 49 increased by 39 percent. However, when you break this number down by age groups, you find that the biggest increases are among women over 30: 57 percent for 30-34; 45 percent for 35-39; and 56 percent for 40-44. In terms of real numbers these increases don’t represent very much since the portion of children born out of wedlock in Japan is only about 1 percent. (more…)