What Is Behind the Delayed Marriage in Japan?: Do Women Postpone Marriage because They Are Traditional or because They Are Egalitarian?

Sayaka Kawamura, Bowling Green State University

The trend of delayed marriage is strongly associated with the low and declining total fertility rate in Japan (Klitsch, 1994), given the fact that unmarried childbearing is rare (Rindfuss et al., 2004). Furthermore, past research indicates the incompatibility of work and family, especially for women, in Japan (e.g., Brewster & Rindfuss, 2000). This research proposes that single women have relatively traditional attitudes toward married life, which may compete with their career aspirations, leading to the postponement of marriage. Using data from the Japan 2000 National Survey on Family and Economic Conditions (Tsuya, Bumpass, & Rindfuss, 2008, N = 4,482), this study investigates women’s attitudes toward marriage and linkages between marriage and childbearing, and how their characteristics, including, age, birth order, educational attainment, employment status, co-residence with parents, and childhood residence, are associated with their attitudes. This study discusses policy implications, including the need for institutional support for Japanese families.

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Presented in Session 180: Child Care and Work-Family Reconciliation