Marital dissolution in Japan - recent trends and patterns

James Raymo, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Miho Iwasawa, National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, Japan
Larry Bumpass, University of Wisconsin at Madison

Existing research on recent trends in divorce in Japan is extremely limited. In this paper, we use available data from the Japanese vital statistics and census to describe trends in the experience of marital dissolution across the life course and to examine trends in educational differentials in the prevalence of divorce. Cumulative probabilities of marital dissolution for real and synthetic marriage cohorts show that divorce has increased rapidly over the past twenty years, with roughly one-third of Japanese marriages now expected to end in divorce. Estimates of educational differentials in the prevalence of divorce also indicate a rapid increase in the extent to which divorce is concentrated among those with lower levels of education. Educational differentials were negligible in the 1980 census but women with a high school degree or less are far more likely than their more highly educated counterparts to be divorced in the 2000 census.

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Presented in Session 4: The ongoing nuptiality transition in developing countries