1 in 4 Japanese remain unmarried until age 50

Sample newspaper article

50歳まで一度も結婚をしたことのない人の割合を示す「生涯未婚率」は2015年に男性23.37%、女性14.06%だったことが4月4日、厚生労働省の国立社会保障・人口問題研究所の調査で分かった。2010年の前回調査より男女とも3ポイント超伸びて過去最高を更新した。生涯未婚の人は男性のほぼ4人に1人、女性のほぼ7人に1人となり「結婚離れ」が 鮮明になった。

人生の選択が多様化する一方、非正規労働者が約4割に増え金銭的な理由で結婚をためらう人も多く、少子化の流れに歯止めはかかりそうにない。非正規の処遇改善など結婚を後押しする対策が急がれる。 (KYODO)

Words and phrases

歳 (さい, sai) age, years old

一度 (いちど, ichido) once

結婚 (けっこん, kekkon) marriage

人 (ひと, hito) people

割合 (わりあい, wariai) proportion

示す (しめす, shimesu) show

生涯未婚率 (しょうがいみこんりつ, shōgai mikon ritsu) proportion of those who never married

男性 (だんせい, dansei) men

女性 (じょせい, josei) women

厚生労働省 (こうせいろうどうしょう, Kōsei-Rōdō-Shō) Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry

国立社会保障・人口問題研究所 (こくりつしゃかいほしょう・じんこうもんだいけんきゅうじょ, Kokuritsu Shakai Hoshō Jinkō Mondai Kenkyūjo) National Institute of Population and Social Security Research

調査 (ちょうさ, chōsa) survey

分かった (わかった, wakatta) found

前回 (ぜんかい, zenkai) previous time

超 (ちょう, chō) over

伸びて (のびて, nobite) grow, stretch

過去最高 (かこさいこう, kakosaikō) record high

更新した (こうしんした, kōshin-shita) renewed

結婚離れ (けっこんばなれ, kekkon banare) shying away from marriage

鮮明 (せんめい, senmei) clear

人生 (じんせい, jinsei) life

選択 (せんたく, sentaku) choice

多様化 (たようか, tayōka) diversification

一方 (いっぽう, ippō) while

非正規労働者 (ひせいきろうどうしゃ, hiseiki rōdōsha) workers in nonregular employment

増え (ふえ, fue) increased

金銭的な (きんせんてきな, kinsenteki-na) financial

理由 (りゆう, riyu) reason

ためらう (tamerau) hesitate

少子化 (しょうしか, shoshika) declining birthrate

流れ (ながれ, nagare) flow

歯止め (はどめ, hadome) brake

処遇改善 (しょぐうかいぜん, shogū kaizen) improvements in treatment

後押し (あとおし, ato-oshi) boost

対策 (たいさく, taisaku) measures

急がれる (いそがれる, isogareru) is urgent

Quick questions

1) 50歳までに一度も結婚しない男性と女性の割合は何人に1人ですか。

2) 前回同じ調査が行われたのはいつですか。その時とどう変わりましたか。

3) 結婚をためらう人が多い理由としてどんな ことが挙げられますか。


The proportion of those who had never married by age 50 in 2015 was 23.37 percent for men and 24.06 percent for women, a report by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry’s National Institute of Population and Social Security Research revealed on April 4. The figures were up more than 3 percentage points for both men and women since the previous survey in 2010, making them the highest on record. Nearly 1 in 4 men and 1 in 7 women had remained unmarried, in a clear sign that people in Japan are increasingly hesitant to tie the knot.

At the same time as life choices have become more diverse, the number of workers in nonregular employment has risen to nearly 40 percent, and many people are reluctant to get married due to financial reasons, making it unlikely that the trend of declining birthrates will end anytime soon. There is an urgent need for policy efforts to be made to promote marriage, including improvements in the working conditions of those in nonregular employment.


1) One in how many men and women have never been married by the age of 50?


Nearly 1 in 4 men and 1 in 7 women.

2) When was the survey conducted last time? How have the figures changed since?


In 2010. The figures were up more than 3 percentage points for both men and women.

3) What are some of the reasons why people are hesitant about marriage?


Diverse life choices, financial reasons.