TOKYO -- A majority of people in their 30s and under in Japan said the country is a difficult place to raise children, according to the results of recent nationwide opinion poll.
The survey on current affairs, jointly conducted by The Mainichi Newspapers Co. and Saitama University's Social Survey Research Center, was conducted between October and December 2022.
When asked if they thought Japan was an easy place to raise children, only 17% said it is, significantly lower than the 44% who said it is not, while 37% were "undecided."
In all age groups, respondents who found it difficult to raise children in Japan exceeded those who found it easy to do so. Younger respondents were particularly harsh in their perceptions, with only 10% of people aged 18 to 29 and 16% of those in their 30s choosing "easy to raise children," while 59% of those aged 18 to 29 and 55% of those in their 30s chose that it is "difficult to raise kids."
However, among those aged 70 and older, 22% said it was easy to do so and 30% said it was hard to bring up children, showing a significant narrowing of the gap, highlighting differences of opinion between the generations.
Japan's birthrate is declining rapidly. The annual number of births, which exceeded 2 million during the country's second baby boom from 1971 to 1974, fell below 1 million in 2016, and is expected to fall below 800,000 for the first time this year. The latest poll revealed that young people are anxious about child rearing and the burden of educational expenses amid uncertain prospects for the future.
The survey was mailed to 2,400 people randomly selected from voters' registries in 240 locations across Japan. Of them, 1,245 people returned valid responses.
(Japanese original by Nanae Ito, Political News Department)