70% of young expect to stay single

Apr 15

In a somewhat depressing survey result, almost three quarters of a sample of 20 year old women said they thought it likely they would spend their lives alone, even if most of them did hold out hope they would find love and marry eventually.

An annual survey of 20-21 year olds carried out by Rakuten’s research arm and repeated every year since 2006 suggests a growing level of loneliness among Japan’s young. The survey asked 600 men and women born in 1994-95 about their position in society, their life and loves. It found that the number who still considered themselves immature, which had dropped in the later part of the 2000s, was again growing, suggesting less confidence amongst the country’s young. More than 80% of women lack confidence to call themselves ‘mature’ at 21, along with 67% of men.

In confirmation, young people’s biggest worries are their careers, work and lifestyles, with more than 50% worried about their long term futures.

Surprisingly, more than half of men and 45.7% of women said they had no close friend – both sad and disturbing if more than a survey aberration. Indeed, while 66% of men and 51% of women said they wanted a partner, only 21% and 19% respectively said they found it easy to find boyfriends/girlfriends. Around two thirds of both genders saw themselves as bad at communicating with the opposite sex, and one out of five respondents said they’d never had a romantic partner.

Despite the generally accepted decline in the popularity of marriage, at this age at least respondents remained hopeful if not exactly optimistic. Three quarters of men and 84% of women said they hoped to marry for love.

At the same time 73.3% of women said they would only marry someone with a clear, stable economic future and career prospects, and 73.7% said they expected never to marry – in contrast, a relatively low 59% of men were expecting to stay single their entire lives.

The survey results read as if the small sample was gleaned from Rakuten’s lonely hearts club, but the way the results reflect the mood among Japanese young people and confirm other research sources once again makes it look like Japan is afflicted with loneliness, with all the social and psychological problems this entails.