Family structure and well-being at older ages in Japan

James M. Raymo, Saeko Kikuzawa, Jersey Liang, Erika Kobayashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The family structure of older Japanese is projected to change dramatically as a result of very low fertility, increasing levels of non-marriage, childlessness, and divorce, and declining intergenerational co-residence. To provide an empirical basis for speculation about the implications of projected increases in single-person and couple-only households, we use two sources of data to describe relationships between family structure and the physical and emotional well-being of Japanese men and women aged 60 and above. We find that marriage is positively associated with self-rated health and emotional well-being among older men but not women. In contrast to expectations, however, we find only limited evidence that the presence of children contributes to well-being. Taken as a whole, our results suggest that declines in marriage may have negative implications for the well-being of older Japanese men while the implications of declines in fertility and intergenerational co-residence may be less than popularly believed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-400
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Population Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography


  • Aging
  • Elderly
  • Family
  • Health
  • Japan
  • Living arrangements
  • Well-being


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