Households comprising only elderly residents or only elderly residents and children have topped 6 million for the first time, according to a survey released Thursday by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

The number of “elderly households” comprising only residents older than 65 or residents older than 65 and those younger than 18, stood at 6.26 million, according to the basic living survey for 2000.

That is a six-fold increase on statistics compiled in 1975, with the number of elderly households now standing at nearly one in seven.

The average number of people per household stood at a record low 2.76.

The average yearly income of an elderly household stood at 3.29 million yen, with the main income source being pensions at 2.03 million yen.

Households in which pensions accounted for the entire income stood at 61.8 percent.

As of June 1, 2000, the number of households rose by 622,000 from a year earlier to a record 45.55 million, of which a record 15.64 million, 34.4 percent, contain elderly family members.

The number of households containing children younger than 18 reached a record low of 13.06 million, 28.7 percent.

The average number of children per household remained the same as a year earlier at 1.75.

A record low 5.49 million households, 12 percent, had one child, while a record low 5.59 million households, 12.3 percent, had two children.

Regarding financial conditions, 50.7 percent of households described their situation as being “extremely difficult” or “rather difficult,” dropping 1.8 percentage points from a year earlier, a majority of those polled for the third consecutive year.

Some 56.1 percent of households with children responded that they were in a “difficult” situation, according to the survey.

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