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The average annual household income hit a 17-year low in 2005 at 5.64 million yen and a record high 56.3 percent of the people said they were having a hard time making enough money to live on, according to a welfare ministry survey released Wednesday.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare attributed the falling income average, despite economic recovery the same year, to an increase in the number of low-income households of elderly people and smaller families.

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