Exposure to Non-Partnership and Fertility Desires among the Childless Population in Japan

Ryohei Mogi, Pompeu Fabra University
Ryota Mugiyama, Gakushuin University
Alyce Raybould , University College London

Japan is a country with low fertility (TFR 1.3) and proportionally high numbers remaining unmarried. This is significant as nearly all births occur within marriage in Japan. Within this low fertility and partnership context, this study examines changing fertility desires among childless individuals in Japan and identifies when they typically abandon these desires. We investigate the impact of partnership status and the duration of non-partnership on fertility desires across the life course, given existing evidence on the importance of partnership status for childbearing. Using the Japanese Life-course Panel Survey data and fixed-effect models, we find that individuals without any partner, especially those in long-term non-partnerships, are most likely to ‘give up’ their fertility desires over time. Our initial findings reveal that both men and women without partners are less inclined to desire children. Furthermore, considering the duration of non-partnership, both genders are less likely to desire a child when they have been without a partner for an extended period. Notably, the largest gap in fertility desires occurs between individuals experiencing non-partnership for 4-6 years and 7-10 years, suggesting childless individuals in Japan are more likely to abandon their desire for children after 4-6 years of non-partnership.

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 Presented in Session 20. Fertility and Singlehood