Japan to stop labeling people unmarried at 50 as 'lifelong singles'

July 8, 2019

 

The government will no longer use the term “lifelong singles” as a label for people who have not married by age 50, deeming the term inaccurate as people are increasingly tying the knot later in life, officials said Thursday.

The label has been used in annual white papers and statistics on the grounds that the fertility rate for women falls significantly when they enter their 50s.

 

But its use, which is believed to have begun some 30 years ago, has been criticized due to it implying that marriage and parenthood are inextricably linked and because it suggests people do not marry after 50.

The government has already removed the descriptor from some white papers in response to an evolving understanding of what constitutes a family. However, the percentage of “lifelong singles” will continue to be included in demographic forecasts and other statistics as it serves as a key indicator, with the data simply referred to as “people unmarried by 50,” the officials said.

 

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