Journal of Population Research

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 379–400 | Cite as

Family structure and well-being at older ages in Japan

  • James M. RaymoEmail author
  • Saeko Kikuzawa
  • Jersey Liang
  • Erika Kobayashi


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.


Japan aging elderly living arrangements family well-being health 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • James M. Raymo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Saeko Kikuzawa
    • 2
  • Jersey Liang
    • 3
  • Erika Kobayashi
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyHosei UniversityUSA
  3. 3.School of Public HealthUniversity of MichiganUSA
  4. 4.Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of GerontologyJapan

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