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Thursday, September 14, 2017

If Japanese Parents Got Paid for Raising their Kids


In the Japanese news, the Meiji Yasuda Life insurance company yesterday released the results of a survey carried out in July on 1,032 married-with-children Japanese people aged 20 to 59 where they were asked how much a parent should earn per year for raising a child if they were to be paid for it.

If Japanese Parents Got Paid for Raising their Kids.

38% of respondents responded with a figure between 1 and 3 million yen (approx. USD 9,000 - 27,000, at today's exchange rate) and 6% with a figure between 5 and 10 million yen (USD 45,000 - 90,000). The average "appropriate salary" given by women averaged 2.38 million yen (approx. USD 21,500), and by men, 2.36 million yen (approx. USD 21,300) - a barely significant difference - for an average of 2.37 million yen (USD 21,500).

However, while the number of women who replied "0 yen" was 3%, the number of men who gave that response was 11%. This prompted Meiji Yasuda Life's chief economist, Yuichi Kodama, to speculate that "although there has been an increase in ikumen [men who stay home and raise children], there is still a deep-rooted tendency among men to belittle the task of childrearing."

To put the "recommended average salary" of about 2.37 million yen in perspective, the average salary in Japan in 2016 (the latest figure I could find) was 4.11 million yen (approx. USD 37,000). However, most people raising children in Japan are in their late 20s or in their 30s, and, even if working in a company, would probably be earning less than, or around, 3 million yen.

The most interesting thing is how the average recommended salary given by both men and women was about the same, suggesting that, in spite of what the chief economist's concerns, men and women in Japan largely share the same view on the value of childrearing.

To illustrate this, one thing I have noticed more and more when out and about is how Japanese men are just as likely to carry children or push the pram around now as are the women. The sight of a Japanese couple with mom alone interacting with the kid(s) while dad stands apart seems on track to become as rare as the sight of old-time, stern-faced dad walking a few paces ahead of mom trailing demurely behind.

(The Japanese news article referred to here is entitled 育児の「年収」237万円? 明治安田が意識調査 and was accessed on the Nikkei news site.)

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