Marital happiness and children among Japanese couples

Chizu Yoshida, Kanto Gakuin University

This paper’s objectives are examining the relationship between marital happiness and the probability of having a child or children and changes in the level of marital happiness before and after childbearing. Data for this study consist of currently married men with wives aged 18-39 and currently married women aged 18-39 drawn from the Generations and Gender Survey in Japan (JGGS-1) conducted in 2004 and their follow up data in 2007. JGGS-1 used the stratified two-stage probability sampling of Japanese men and women of all marital statuses aged 18-69 in 2004. This study made a composite indicator of marital happiness from a questionnaire about degree of spousal agreement about different aspects of family life. This paper assumes a positive relationship between marital happiness and the degree of spousal agreement. From analyses about changes of marital happiness before and after childbearing, women’s marital happiness decreases after childbearing. Men’s marital happiness doesn’t change after the first childbearing and decreases when they had no child in 2004 and no birth during 2004 and 2007. From analyses using logit model, women’s marital happiness doesn’t have significant impact on the probability of having a child or children. More children women have, less likely they have the next child. Men’s marital happiness has a significant impact on the probability of having a child or children. Happier men are, less likely they have the first child and more likely they have the second child. Although men get happiness from the first childbearing, women do not get happiness from it. The results imply that Japanese wives need a support, for example a child care service which is available for all working wives, in order to get happiness from their childbearing. If Japanese wives could be happier when they have a child, they might desire having more children.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session P1. Poster Session 1