The number of households in Japan receiving welfare increased by 634 in October from the previous month to hit a record high of 1,642,907, up for the sixth straight month, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has announced.

The growth reflects an increase in the number of welfare-dependent elderly households.

Excluding cases in which welfare payments have been suspended temporarily, households where all members are aged 65 or older and those made up of both the elderly and children under 18 totaled 865,332 — or over 50 percent of the total number of recipient households — the ministry said Wednesday.

Of such elderly households, one-person households accounted for about 90 percent.

The number of recipient households headed by sick, injured or disabled members reached 420,025. The number of families on welfare consisting of single mothers and children under 18 stood at 92,655.

Other household types receiving welfare, including those where the main breadwinners are unemployed, totaled 256,408 in October.

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