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Spatial clustering patterns of children in single-mother households in Japan

  • Original Paper
  • Published:
Journal of Spatial Econometrics

Abstract

We examine spatial clustering patterns of children living in single-mother households in Japan, where poverty risk among these children is extremely high. Our analysis employs spatial panel data at the municipal level in 2000, 2005, and 2010. The Global and Local Moran’s I statistics reveal significant spatial clustering of children in single-mother households. The spatial clusters of these children are located mostly in Hokkaido and western Japan. The spatial clustering patterns of younger children (under the age of 6) and older children (aged 6–18) are similar, but the older children are more spatially clustered. Moreover, from 2000 to 2010, the number of significant spatial clusters of high proportions of children in single-mother households (high-high clusters) increased for the older children but decreased for the younger children. These results suggest that the older children in single-mother households are more residentially clustered, and this trend intensified over the 10-year period. The results of the spatial fixed-effects models indicate that the proportions of children in single-mother households are high in areas with low income and a high out-migration rate. The spatial fixed-effects models exhibit the presence of significant indirect effects (spillover effects), suggesting the importance of addressing spatial dependency. The results of this study can help identify areas that need policy attention.

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Notes

  1. The figures are from the Census of Japan (SBJ 2017). These numbers include households in which the mother and children reside with other household members such as grandparents.

  2. In the rest of the article, we use the term “younger children” for those younger than 6 years-old, and “older children” for those aged 6–18.

  3. The number of single-mother households decreased from 2010 to 2015, but this decrease is at the same rate as the number of households with children during the same period.

  4. Those single-parent households exclude members other than a parent and children. The figure is 85% if the other members (e.g., grandparents) are included.

  5. Relative disposable income is mean disposable (after tax and transfer) equalized income as a proportion of disposable equalized income for individuals in households with two or more adults, a working age head, no children and one worker (OECD 2018a).

  6. In the published municipal-level census data of Japan, the numbers of single-mother households that include members other than mothers and children are available only from 2010.

  7. In 2006, Kamikuishiki-mura (a municipality in Yamanashi prefecture) was divided into two already existing different municipalities, a rare style of division. For this particular division, we calculated population-weighted data for each divided portion of the municipality, using the population at the level of blocks (kihontaiku), a spatial unit smaller than municipalities, and then merged the population-weighted data with the data in the existing municipalities.

  8. We also experimented with the crude divorce rate (the number of divorces per 1000 population) and divorce-to-marriage ratio (the number of divorces to the number of marriages). We decided to use the refined divorce rate, which is considered most appropriate among the three measures.

  9. The remote-area childcare centers are non-licensed centers located at sparsely populated area. They are run under less strict standards than the licensed childcare centers.

  10. Wooldridge (2016 p. 437, Example 14.2) uses a similar approach, including interactions of education with year dummies to examine whether the returns to education change over time.

  11. We also calculated differential Moran’s I statistics (Anselin 2019), or Global Moran’s I statistics for the changes in the proportions of children under ages 6 and 18 in single-mother households from 2000 to 2010. The resultant statistics are significant at the 1% level.

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Funding

We are grateful to the editors and referees for valuable comments and suggestions. We would also like to thank Shinichiro Iwata, Tohru Naito, Akiko Oishi, Chigusa Okamoto, and seminar participants at various conferences for their constructive comments. This research was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Numbers JP16K13363, JP17K18550, JP19K01691, and 20K01617 and Keio Gijuku Academic Development Funds (Individual Research A).

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Correspondence to Mizuki Kawabata.

Appendix

Appendix

See Table 7

Table 7 Average marginal effects for children under ages 6 and age 6–18 in single-mother households: spatial fixed-effects models(W: inverse-distance matrix)

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Abe, Y., Kawabata, M. & Shibatsuji, Y. Spatial clustering patterns of children in single-mother households in Japan. J Spat Econometrics 2, 1 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s43071-020-00006-9

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