ESRI Discussion Paper Series No.337
Analysis of Child Poverty in Japan

Mika Akesaka
Ph.D. Candidate, Graduate School of Economics, Osaka University
Research Fellow, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University
Yukiko Ito
Principal Economist, Economic Research Department, Japan Center for Economic Research
Fumio Ohtake
Professor, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University
(Formerly Visiting Research Fellow, Economic and Social Research Institute, Cabinet Office)


In this study, we investigate characteristics and changes in household attributes to clarify the conditions of child poverty in Japan, using the Employment Structure Survey (ESS). We use two definitions of poverty: relative poverty and absolute poverty. Under these two poverty definitions, we examine factors that cause households poverty and that change poverty rates. Moreover, we analyze the relationship between the risk of poverty and children’s high school enrollment.

We find the following three main results. First, the households with children facing high probability of poverty have the following characteristics: they have a child less than one year old, the household head is female, the household head is relatively younger, the household head has lower educational background, the number of children is large, and there is only one adult. A change in the distribution of household attributes lowers the poverty rate between 1997 and 2012. On the other hand, a change in the marginal effect of household attributes on probability of poverty increases it. Third, children with higher risk of poverty are more likely to show lower high school enrollment rates and to be with higher employment rates.

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