Poverty Rate Of Homes With Children Nears 14%

Poverty rate of homes with children nears 14%The percentage of child-rearing households living in poverty in Japan jumped 2.5-fold over a 20-year period to 13.8 percent in 2012, according to a study.
In that year, 1.46 million households with children 17 years old or younger were living below the standard for receiving welfare benefits, compared with around 700,000, or 5.4 percent, in 1992, the study by Kensaku Tomuro, an associate professor of social policy theory at Yamagata University, showed.

Tomuro defined poverty in the study as subsisting on incomes below minimum living costs. He used statistics from the internal affairs ministry’s Employment Status Survey and other sources for the research.

According to the health ministry, the “child poverty rate” in Japan was 16.3 percent in 2012. The rate represents Japanese nationals 17 or younger who live on disposable income at levels lower than half of the national median.

However, the ministry does not release child poverty rates for individual prefectures.

“Although my research uses a calculation method different from the health ministry, the study revealed the region-specific poverty situation surrounding Japanese children,” Tomuro said.

Okinawa Prefecture had the particularly high household poverty ratio of 37.5 percent, according to Tomuro’s study.

In 39 prefectures, more than 10 percent of child-rearing households were living in poverty in 2012, including 10.3 percent in Tokyo, the research showed.

“The child poverty issue cannot be eliminated through the sole efforts of local governments, so efforts by the central government are also needed,” Tomuro said.