, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 727-749
Date: 12 Jul 2012

Living Arrangements and the Well-Being of Single Mothers in Japan

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Abstract

The goal of this study is to evaluate the extent to which the well-being of single mothers in Japan is related to coresidence with other adults. Using data from a representative survey of households headed by single mothers, we examine two measures of subjective well-being: perceived economic circumstances and self-rated health. One-fourth of the single mothers surveyed were coresiding with another adult(s) and it is clear that these women fare significantly better than their non-coresiding counterparts on both measures of well-being. Net of several theoretically relevant sociodemographic, family, and employment characteristics, single mothers living with others were significantly less likely to report somewhat difficult/difficult economic circumstances or fair/poor health. Efforts to account for potential endogeneity between well-being and living arrangements suggested that self-rated health, but not subjective economic well-being, is related to selection into coresidence. Single mothers in fair/poor health appear more likely to coreside with others and, accounting for this selection, intergenerational coresidence appears to be very beneficial for self-rated health. We discuss the implications of these findings for processes of stratification in Japan in light of the limited public income support available to single mothers.