Subjective Well-being Across Gender and Age in Japan: An Econometric Analysis

  • Tim Tiefenbach
  • Florian Kohlbacher
Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 53)


Subjective well-being, especially measured in terms of “happiness” and “life satisfaction”, is increasingly considered an important policy goal around the globe. The fact that the Japanese government decided in 2010 to focus its annual survey, the National Survey on Lifestyle Preferences, on happiness and its determinants is just one indicator of this importance also in Japan. Based on the most recent survey data from the years 2010 to 2012 this study analyses happiness differences across gender and age. An analysis of happiness differences between different age groups is especially interesting in the case of Japan, since the country is known for its relatively traditional, rigid social structures with predetermined life courses and carrier paths. Furthermore, research has revealed strong gender differences across various social indicators in Japan and these differences are also reflected in the correlates of happiness. Although previous happiness studies in Japan have also included gender in their analysis, the present study is unique in two respects: first, the underlying dataset is not only the most current one available for Japan, with over 9,000 observations, it is also very comprehensive. Second, in a subset of the data not only the “happiness level”, but also the “life satisfaction”, of the respondents is recorded, which allows a unique differentiation of the two concepts stratified by gender. Results indicate for example that, while household income affects happiness and life satisfaction equally for men and women, having no savings shows a stronger negative correlation with life satisfaction for women. Overall, the present study provides the first overview of recent happiness and life satisfaction data in Japan from a gender and age perspective.


Japan Subjective well-being Gender Age 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ)TokyoJapan

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