Ratio of married women who want to have baby soon sharply rises

Kyodo

The ratio of married women in Japan who expressed a desire to have a baby as soon as possible in a recent online survey has risen sharply compared with a 2007 poll, reflecting the accelerating trend to marry late, a research institute said Wednesday.

Benesse Educational Research and Development Institute, a think tank of Benesse Corp., a provider of correspondence education and lifestyle-related services, found that 56.9 percent of married women polled said they want to have a child, little changed from 58.2 percent in the 2007 survey.

Of them, 74.0 percent said in the latest poll that they want to have a kid immediately, up 13.2 points from 60.8 percent in the 2007 survey, which targeted only women, according to the institute.

The 2013 online survey conducted in September drew responses from 4,159 single and married men and women aged 25 and 45, who do not have any children and who live in the Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka metropolitan areas.

Among married men, 67.3 percent said they want to have a child, with 71.1 percent of them saying they wanted to become a father soon.

Noriko Goto, chief researcher at the Benesse institute, said the number of women who want to have a baby immediately has increased as more information on pregnancy and childbirth has become available in the country.

She pointed out that it is now widely known that women have difficulty in getting pregnant as they age and that they face higher risks in childbirth. The newly coined expression “ninkatsu,” meaning activities to get pregnant, highlights this growing awareness, Goto said.

Meanwhile, 56.4 percent of married men and 67.8 percent of married women said the biggest impact of having a child is the cost. Many respondents called for subsidies to cover the expense of the delivery and child-rearing.