Social integration of women
The rising age at first marriage was partly explained by a common theory that holds the growing number of "parasite singles" accountable for the trend. The term refers to young working people aged between 28 and 40 years who decide to keep living comfortably in their parents’ homes in order to save money. An alternative explanation is the more active participation of Japanese women in society. Increasingly more women in Japan obtain higher education degrees and focus on their career paths. With a rising income, they are financially less dependent, and marriage is no longer essential to afford the life they want to pursue.
Delayed family planning
The overall number of newly registered marriages has also declined in the past decade. The reported number of marriages was around 501 thousand in 2021, representing four consecutive years below 600 thousand. These developments concerning marriages have also impacted the mean age of childbearing, which has risen considerably since the 1970s.