Japan’s Child Poverty Rate Down, but under OECD Average

Written by BCCJ
June 28, 2017

Written by BCCJ
June 28, 2017

Asahi Shimbun reports:

Japan’s child poverty rate improved for the first time in 12 years, but around half of single-parent households still live in destitution, welfare ministry data released on June 27 showed.

Higher average incomes helped to push down the child poverty rate from a record-high 16.3 percent in 2012 to 13.9 percent in 2015, according to the results of the ministry’s Comprehensive Survey of Living Conditions.

The survey, conducted in June and July last year, asked around 34,000 households about their incomes for 2015. Valid responses were received by 71.76 percent of those contacted.

The child poverty rate is calculated by dividing a household’s disposable income by the number of family members. The poverty line is half of median value of all individual-based incomes.

Japan’s child poverty rate had risen since 2003, when it was 13.7 percent, until its peak in 2012.

But the latest survey showed the annual average household income increased by 86,000 yen ($770) to 5.458 million yen, bringing many out of poverty statistically.

The 13.9 percent rate means one in seven children lives in a state of poverty. Japan’s rate is also higher than the average of 13.2 percent among member nations of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Japan rate ranked 24th among 36 major nations, and was far behind Denmark’s 2.7 percent and South Korea’s 7.1 percent.

The poverty rate for single-parent households in Japan improved by 3.8 percentage points over the same period but remained over half at 50.8 percent.

Japan’s overall poverty rate declined by 0.5 percentage points to 15.6 percent in 2015, ranking 29th among the 36 nations.

Source: Asahi Shimbun Online, 27 June 2017, http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201706270054.html