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Marital Dissolution in Japan


  • James M. Raymo

    (University of Wisconsin–Madison)

  • Larry L. Bumpass

    (University of Wisconsin–Madison)

  • Miho Iwasawa

    (National Institute of Population and Social Security Research)


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.

Suggested Citation

  • James M. Raymo & Larry L. Bumpass & Miho Iwasawa, 2004. "Marital Dissolution in Japan," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 11(14), pages 395-420, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:demres:v:11:y:2004:i:14

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sara Mclanahan, 2004. "Diverging destinies: How children are faring under the second demographic transition," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 41(4), pages 607-627, November.
    2. Robert D. Retherford & Naohiro Ogawa & Rikiya Matsukura, 2001. "Late Marriage and Less Marriage in Japan," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 27(1), pages 65-102.
    3. Gunnar Andersson & Dimiter Philipov, 2001. "Life-table representations of family dynamics in 16 FFS countries," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2001-024, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
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    Cited by:

    1. Parfait M. Eloundou-Enyegue & C. Shannon Stokes, 2007. "Demographic transitions and children's resources: growth or divergence?," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 16(7), pages 195-218, March.

    More about this item


    divorce; education; educational differentials; Japan; marital dissolution; marriage; marriage cohorts; synthetic cohort estimates;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General


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