December 20, 2009

JAPAN: People living alone to account for one-third of Japanese households in 2020

. OSAKA, Japan / The Mainichi Daily News / December 21, 2009 Over a third of households in Japan in 2020 will be single occupancies, projected figures from the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research have shown. During a previous survey in 2005, it was estimated that the figure would be reached in 2025, but the latest estimates put the figure five years earlier than that. On a national level in 2005, single-person households accounted for 29.5 percent of all households. In 2010 this figure is expected to rise to 31.2 percent, outstripping the percentage of households consisting of parents and at least one child (27.9 percent). Parent-child households were the most common type of household in 29 prefectures in Japan in 2005, but single-person households will become the most common type in all prefectures by 2020, the institute's estimates show. In 2030, 45.5 percent of households in Tokyo are expected to consist of one person living alone. Hachiro Nishioka, director of the institute's Department of Population Structure Research, says the increase is probably due to changing social trends and the fewer number of elderly people living with their children. "It is probably because the trend of late marriages or people not marrying at all has spread among the younger generation, and because of the increasing number of elderly people continuing to live alone instead of with their children when their spouse dies," Nishioka said. The number of households in which the householder is aged 75 or older is expected to keep increasing across Japan until 2030, and double in 13 prefectures including Chiba and Kanagawa, the estimates show. In Saitama Prefecture, the number of such households is expected to surge from 206,000 in 2005 to 609,000 in 2030.[rc] Copyright 2009 The Mainichi Newspapers