Japan Childhood poverty rates

General information about the resource:

Language: English, Japanese

What is it about?

LOS ANGELES – With the percentage of children living below the poverty line in both Japan and the United States at an all-time high, the implications for schools are unavoidable. Yet before jumping to the conclusion that all is lost, reformers need to take a closer look at how the problem is measured.

According to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, the relative childhood poverty rate in Japan has increased from 10.9 percent in 1985 to 16.3 percent in 2012. That means roughly one of every six children come from households with half the median income of the total population. It places Japan in the bottom third of the 34 countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

In the U.S., the child poverty rate is 19.7 percent. That means 10.9 million — almost a fifth of the nation’s children — are growing up in households that are living hand-to-mouth. The rising poverty rate affects every racial group: 39 percent of blacks, 36 percent of Native Americans, 32 percent of Hispanics, and 13 percent of Asians and whites.

But these numbers can be misleading because whenever poverty is reported it is almost always in relative terms. In the U.S., children who qualify for a free or reduced-price lunch do not necessarily live in poverty. For example, subsidized lunches are available to those from families earning up to $43,568 annually for a family of four. That is about 185 percent of the federal poverty level.

This unusual concept of poverty in the U.S. was established in 1964 by the Social Security Administration, which found that a family spent, on average, one-third of its income on food. Therefore, three times the amount on food became the official poverty line.

In Japan the poverty line is measured differently. It is half of the median household income of the total population. That means a household with a single parent with two children can earn roughly ¥170,000 a month. Unlike the U.S., the amount of child support a single parent receives in Japan is based on the number of children and the parent’s income. As taxable income increases, the amount of the allowance decreases, which can act as a disincentive to climb the income ladder.

Given short shrift is that the definition of poverty in the U.S. excludes any income from government transfers such as food stamps, and other non-cash benefits such as housing and energy subsidies and Medicaid. Once such benefits are included, the absolute poverty rate for children in the U.S. is actually lower than the United Kingdom’s, virtually the same as Germany’s and just barely higher than Finland’s.

By the same token, Japan’s poverty rate is distorted by the record number of people receiving entitlement benefits. Although Japan’s population is only one third that of the U.S., there are 2.2 million on welfare.

None of the above is meant to minimize or deny the cost of child poverty to Japan and the U.S. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds invariably bring huge deficits in socialization, motivation and intellectual development to school through no fault of their own. As a result, teachers are forced to perform triage before they can go on with planned instruction. It helps explain why so many teachers are reluctant to accept positions in schools serving low-income students.

With a rapidly aging population to support, Japan is on the right track by its plan to open 100 facilities across the country in the next five years to help first- to third-grade children from impoverished homes improve their reading skills and lifetime health habits. The government correctly realizes that the better educated children are the greater the likelihood they will earn more.

Other resources that might interest you

Japan Resources

実録公開! 有名離婚弁護士”子の連れ去り指示”の現場

2021年10月10日 本会は、離婚を考えているある女性が、有名な悪徳離婚弁護士に相談に訪れた際のやり取りを、本サイト読者の方からの情報提供により入手しました。その内容を、以下の通り公開します。 Contents 1. 「別居すれば婚姻費用がもらえるよ」 2. 「子供を連れて黙って家を出るんだよ」 3. 「会えないのにお金出す馬鹿いる?」 4. 「どうして離婚したいのかをまだ聞いてない」 5. 「急いで別居、離婚までは長く」 6. 「賢い奥さんは別居するだけであとはほっとく」 7. 「子供をダシにして生きなきゃダメ」 8. 「調停の前は面会交流をブロックできない」 9. 「養育費の10%を5年分いただきます」 10. 「わざと階段から転げてみるとか」 「別居すれば婚姻費用がもらえるよ」 (20XX年X月X日、有名悪徳離婚弁護士の事務所にて) 弁護士:(相談者が書いた質問表を見ながら)離婚した後は、どういうふうにしていこうと?(※太字は弁護士の発言。以下同) 相談者:ちょっと、まだ……。(※細字は相談者の発言。以下同じ) 今住んでるところは賃貸? 賃貸です。 結婚期間が短いから、分けるものが何もないっていう離婚だよ。 そう思ってます。 離婚するときには、子供とお金に関することを決めるんだけど、子供の養育費はもらえます。これは裁判所で、お互いの年収でほぼ機械的に算出されるから。あなたの場合、慰謝料はないし、年金分割も微々たるもの。 もし離婚するってなったら、親権は私が取りたいんですけど。 彼、あんまり子育てしてないんじゃない? 仕事から帰ってくるのが遅くて。帰ると子供に構ってはくれるんですけど。

Read More »

Anatomy of a kidnapping

The Anatomy of a Kidnapping – from ABC Australian Radio Posted on January 1, 2013 by Brian Prager      Rate This The Anatomy of a Kidnapping is a radio documentary by ABC

Read More »