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The number of households receiving allowances for low-income, single-mother families has topped 1 million for the first time, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said Wednesday.

As of December, there were 1,000,552 households receiving the support as average incomes for single-mom households remained stuck at around 40 percent of the national average.

Since the allowances are based on income from the previous year, the figure doesn’t account for the negative impact the global economic crisis has had on incomes since last fall, a ministry official said. As a result, the figure is expected to rise as the recession deepens.

The figure represents an increase of about 10,000 from December 2007, when single-mom households stood at around 990,000. The number bottomed out at around 630,000 at the end of 1998 but has been rising steadily ever since.

Of the 1 million-plus households, 878,000 became single-mother families through divorce. Those of unmarried mothers accounted for 79,000.

State and municipal governments provide up to ¥42,000 in monthly allowances to single-mother families with one child.

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