Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 727–749 | Cite as

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



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.


Single mothers Living arrangements Health Economic well-being Japan 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Japan Institute for Labour Policy and TrainingTokyoJapan

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