Volume 11 - Article 14 | Pages 395-420

Marital Dissolution in Japan: Recent Trends and Patterns

By James M. Raymo, Larry L. Bumpass, Miho Iwasawa

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Date received:11 Nov 2004
Date published:17 Dec 2004
Word count:5558
Keywords:divorce, education, educational differentials, Japan, marital dissolution, marriage, marriage cohorts, synthetic cohort estimates


Very little is known about recent trends in divorce in Japan. In this paper, we use Japanese vital statistics and census data to describe trends in the experience of marital dissolution across the life course, and to examine change over time in educational differentials in divorce.
Cumulative probabilities of marital dissolution have increased rapidly across successive marriage cohorts over the past twenty years, and synthetic period estimates suggest that roughly one-third of Japanese marriages are now likely to end in divorce. Estimates of educational differentials also indicate a rapid increase in the extent to which divorce is concentrated at lower levels of education. While educational differentials were negligible in 1980, by 2000, women who had not gone beyond high school were far more likely to be divorced than those with more education.

Author's Affiliation

James M. Raymo - University of Wisconsin, United States of America [Email]
Larry L. Bumpass - University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States of America [Email]
Miho Iwasawa - National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, Japan [Email]

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