News | July 17, 2012
Paper prize for Setsuya Fukuda
© IS2 / photocase.com
Former MPIDR researcher Setsuya Fukuda has been awarded a prize by the Population Association of Japan (PAJ) for a paper published in the journal Demographic Research. He investigated the home-leaving patterns of young adults in Japan.
Leaving the parental home is a key life event in the transition to adulthood. It has been studied extensively in Western countries, but it has less frequently explored in demographic studies of contemporary Japan. Setsuya Fukuda has closed this gap, investigating the home-leaving patterns of young women and men from the 1950s through the beginning of the 21st century.
He found, for example, that the changes in living arrangements among married couples in Japan have been similar to those seen in other industrialized countries: there has been a clear decline in the number of households in which children, parents, and grandparents live together. Young families tend to have their own households, even if this represents a substantial financial burden.
But he also identified some substantial differences between Japan and other industrialized countries: in contrast to the patterns observed elsewhere, the living arrangements of never-married young adults in Japan did not change much between 1980 and 2005. Among never-married Japanese people aged 20-34, around 60% of men and 70% of women were found to be living with their parents. As men leave home before marriage for a job or schooling much more frequently than women, age at leaving home is younger for men than for women. This difference between the sexes appears to be specific to Japan. Setsuya Fukuda attributed this pattern to gender differences in the opportunity structures in the life courses of young adults. He speculated, for example, that men are under greater social pressure than women to pursue a higher education and to get a high-status job due to the male breadwinner family norm that prevails in Japan.
His multi-variate event history analysis also revealed that the delay in leaving home among recent Japanese cohorts, as well as the current trend toward delays that has been observed in many industrial countries, is entirely explained by the rapid demographic changes that took place in the post-war period. Today’s younger cohorts have a smaller numbers of siblings and are more likely to live in cities, factors that discourage them from leaving home before marriage. The close linkage between leaving home and marriage was found to be even tighter in the younger cohort, while marriage itself was shown to have been substantially postponed among this age group. The study also found that adherence to stem family norms helps to explain the delay to some extent, as an increasing share of recent cohorts of heirs were shown to have displayed slightly lower home-leaving intensities than non-heirs.
- Leaving the parental home in post-war Japan: Demographic changes, stem-family norms and the transition to adulthood, Demographic Research, 20:30, 731-816, DOI: 10.4054/DemRes.2009.20.30
- www.demographic-research.org - Demographic Research is a free, online, open access, peer-reviewed journal of the population sciences published by the MPIDR.