Educational Attainment, First Employment, and First Marriage in Japan

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This study examines the patterns of educational attainment and first employment among young Japanese, and their effects on the likelihood of first marriage, using micro-level data drawn from a national family survey in 2004 and its follow-up in 2007. Attainment of higher education increased dramatically in postwar Japan, and such gains were especially notable for women. Meanwhile, regular employment has decreased, and temporary employment has risen rapidly among young Japanese since the 1990s. The study reveals that obtaining regular employment as the first job strongly enhances the likelihood of first marriage for both genders although the marriage-enhancing effect is stronger for men than for women. First entry to the labor market as a temporary worker also significantly diminishes the likelihood of first marriage for men. Like other industrialized economies in Asia, improving educational attainment is found to be a factor causing declining first marriage among young Japanese women.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Japan
  • educational attainment
  • first employment
  • first marriage
  • gender
  • labor market

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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