Journal Article written by 2002 Abe Fellow James Raymo based on his project “Family Context of Work at Older Ages in Japan and the United States.” Co-authors include Saeko Kikuzawa, Jersey Liang, and Erika Kobayashi.
The family structure of older Japanese is projected to change dramatically as a result of very low fertility, increasing levels of non-marriage, childlessness, and divorce, and declining intergenerational co-residence. To provide an empirical basis for speculation about the implications of projected increases in single-person and couple-only households, we use two sources of data to describe relationships between family structure and the physical and emotional well-being of Japanese men and women aged 60 and above. We find that marriage is positively associated with self-rated health and emotional well-being among older men but not women. In contrast to expectations, however, we find only limited evidence that the presence of children contributes to well-being. Taken as a whole, our results suggest that declines in marriage may have negative implications for the well-being of older Japanese men while the implications of declines in fertility and intergenerational co-residence may be less than popularly believed.