執筆 上野陽子
2014/7 Up

第69回 近年の日本の結婚事情
Vol. 69 Recent trends of marriage in Japan

What's the average age for marriage in Japan?


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Marriage is an option, not a requirement

In Japan, it was traditionally considered that getting married was "just what you did," and people tended to think that unless there was a special reason not to get married, then you should get married. However, recently, people have changed their way of thinking, and now marriage is not considered to be an absolute requirement but rather a matter of personal choice. Around 90 percent of people in their 20s and 30s regard marriage as a lifestyle choice and are more flexible about it. Data from 1984 showed that 60 percent of people agreed with the idea that you could not be considered a full-fledged adult until you were married. However, that number decreased to 35 percent in 2008. People's perspectives on marriage have changed.


What is the average age for marriage in Japan?

Let's take a look at the average age for a first marriage. In 1982, the men's average was 28.3 years, and the average for women was 25.6 years. At that time, some people called women over 25 "a Christmas cake," likening them to a Christmas cake which is hard to sell after the 25th of December. Women, especially, were expected to get married before a certain age. However, people get married at a later stage in life these days, and the average age for marriage was 30.5 years for a man and 28.8 years for a woman in 2010. There is nothing unusual about getting married over 30 now. The percentage of married people among 25-year-olds to 30-year-olds has decreased to 30 percent. Many people see this is a result of some of the cram-free generation* being unable to afford to get married.

*The generation whose less strict education coincided with a downturn in the economy.

初婚年齢の平均を見てみましょう。1982年男性は28.3歳、女性は25.6歳。この頃はまだ女性は25を過ぎると市場価値が下がる「クリスマスケーキ」と呼ばれるなど、特に女性には年齢をきっかけにして結婚を求める声が高かったものです。ところが徐々に晩婚化が進み、2010年の結婚平均年齢は男性は30.5 歳、女性は28.8歳になり、今では男女問わずに30歳代前半で結婚をすることも珍しくなくなりました。25歳~30歳の既婚率が、ここ30年で3割も落ちています。ゆとり世代は経済的に余裕がないことを理由に、結婚できない人も多いことが、原因のひとつと見られています。


When do you want to get married?

Comparing the percentage of people who wanted to get married in 1982 to in 2010, the rate decreased 10 percent for men and 5 percent for women; however, more than 90 percent (of people) still do want to get married. So, despite the rising awareness of marriage as a personal choice, most people still want to get married. The average age people would like to get married is 30.4 years for men and 28.4 years for woman. The ideal age and reality are getting closer. People used to get married to gain social acceptance, but their incentive has now changed. The reason why people get married today is to have their own families and kids or just to have a place to feel at home. These days, people tend to consider their personal life more than social approval.



The average age for marriage in Japan was 30.5 years for a man and 28.8 years for a woman in 2010.

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