Guys-wanna' get married? Move to Tokyo; Ladies-move to the countryside

Good morning everyone,

If you want to know about the weather, read yesterday's blog...or the day before...or the day before...they all say the same thing...ha ha! If you're too lazy to do that, it'll be nice and sunny the beginning of the week, but midweek is looking cloudy and a chance of rain on Thursday. After that...it's anybody's guess.

A recent government report showing a record percentage of people in Japan remain unmarried at age 50 has also revealed major regional disparities, indicating local factors are influencing marriage rates.

Generally higher rates of unmarried men in eastern prefectures and among women in prefectures home to major cities have led some analysts to conclude the trend may be the result of women moving to cities and men staying in rural areas to carry on family businesses in agriculture and other industries.

A National Institute of Population and Social Security Research report released last month showed a record 23.37 percent of men aged 50 in 2015 had never married, compared with a record 14.06 percent of women the same age. Among the nation’s 47 prefectures, the highest for men was Okinawa, at 26.20 percent, and the lowest Nara, at 18.24 percent, while the highest for women was Tokyo, at 19.20 percent, and the lowest Fukui, at 8.66 percent.

Also included in the list of 10 prefectures with the highest rates of unmarried women were such major cities as Osaka, Fukuoka and Kyoto. An official of Fukuoka Prefecture involved in child-rearing support said the fact that there are more women than men in the prefecture may be leading to its high figures, noting that many women from nearby prefectures such as Yamaguchi were flowing in for the many schools and a big service industry in the city of Fukuoka.

For men, eight of the 10 prefectures with the highest percentages of unmarried people at age 50 were in eastern Japan, including the Tohoku region and the Kanto region. Among them was Iwate Prefecture, which marked the second-highest rate, at 26.16 percent. The prefecture founded a matchmaking support center in 2015. While the ratio of men and women registered with the center was about equal for those living in the prefectural capital of Morioka, men exceed women for those living in mountainous and coastal regions, where agriculture and fisheries are the main industries. “It is an indication that men in primary industries have fewer chances to meet a potential marital partner,” said an Iwate prefectural official.

“Young women tend to gather in convenient urban areas, where there is a lot of entertainment, and men are more likely to stay in their hometowns as inheritors of primary-sector and self-owned businesses, leading to the regional disparities in the percentages of the unmarried,” said Kanako Amano, a researcher at NLI Research Institute with expertise in the issue of the nation’s falling birthrate.

So, what do you think? Do you agree with the experts? Is it because women are moving to the cities and men are staying home to take over the family business? I can see how that might be part of the reason, but for me the main reason is probably instability-the number of people with irregular work (part-time, one-year contracts) is at an all-time high in Japan and those conditions make it harder to feel confident enough about your future to want to get married...kind of like being an English teacher...ha ha!

Have a great day!


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