Volume 44 - Article 9 | Pages 225–238

Japanese adolescents' time use: The role of household income and parental education

By Ekaterina Hertog, Muzhi Zhou

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Date received:19 May 2020
Date published:04 Feb 2021
Word count:2268
Keywords:children, Japan, parenting, social inequality, time use
Updated Items:On February 8, 2021, Section 5. Acknowledgements was added at the authors’ request.
Weblink:You will find all publications in this Special Collection on Family Changes and Inequality in East Asia here.


Background: How children spend their day is closely linked to their social and developmental outcomes. Children’s time use is associated with their parents’ educational and economic capital, making time use a potential reproduction channel for socioeconomic inequalities.

Objective: We evaluate the correlation of natal-family economic resources, parents’ education, and children’s daily time use in Japan.

Methods: Analysing data from a 2006 Japanese time use survey, we use natal-family income, parental education, and the interaction between them to predict in-school and afterschool study time, leisure time, and sleep time for children aged 10‒18.

Results: Children from families with higher incomes and more-educated parents spend a longer time studying after school and less time on sleep and leisure. Parental income and mothers’ and fathers’ education are all independently associated with children’s daily patterns.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that available resources and parental education are important in shaping children’s daily routines and, through these routines, their eventual socioeconomic outcomes.

Contribution: This is the first article to simultaneously assess the impact of income and parental education on children’s study, leisure, and sleep time. It is also the first paper to analyse children’s time use and their natal-family characteristics in Japan.

Author's Affiliation

Ekaterina Hertog - University of Oxford, United Kingdom [Email]
Muzhi Zhou - University of Oxford, United Kingdom [Email]

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