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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 July 15 - 21  > One in seven children in Japan lives in poverty
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2020 July 15 - 21 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

One in seven children in Japan lives in poverty

July 21, 2020
One in every seven children in Japan lives in poverty. This was shown in the survey results released by the Welfare Ministry on July 17.

The survey is conducted annually to gather basic information concerning people’s living conditions in such areas as health, welfare, and income.

The latest survey found that 13.5% of children under 18 years of age live below the poverty line, which means that they live in households whose income is less than half of the median household income. The poverty rate stood at 48.1% for single-parent households.

In the survey, the average income of single-mother households was around 40% of that of all families with children. The percentage of families without any savings was 31.8% among fatherless households, much higher than the 13.4% among all households. As many as 87% of mother-and-child families answered that their life is “tough”, compared with 54% of all households.

In the same survey, elderly households earned 3.12 million yen on average, down 220,000 yen from the previous survey. Of households headed by person aged 65 and over, 43% said that the amount of their savings decreased from a year earlier. As the reason for the decrease, more than 70% explained that they used their savings to cover daily expenses. These figures suggest that many elderly persons are dipping into their savings due to insufficient pension benefits. Of the elderly households surveyed, 14.3% did not have any savings.

The survey was carried out before the consumption tax rate was increased in October 2019. Given that the coronavirus crisis is wreaking economic havoc on Japan, it is highly likely that financial conditions of single-mother and elderly households have further deteriorated.

The survey also revealed that there are more and more households where elder members provide care for another elder member. Among households with elder persons who need nursing care, 59.7% said that the care receiver and the care giver are both older than 64 and 33.1% said that they are both older than 74, hitting a record high. This suggests that many elderly households cannot afford to use nursing-care services due to expensive fees and have to depend on home care.

Past related articles:
> Okinawa’s child poverty rate drops to 25% but still above national average [June 15, 2019]
> Gov’t survey finds one in seven children still in poverty [June 28, 2017]
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