JAPAN: Underpopulation and “Rental Relatives”


Many Japanese children face a lonely old age.  A 22 year-old Japanese woman today has a life expectancy of about 90 years, but has a 25% chance of never marrying, only a 50% chance of a lasting marriage due to rising rates of divorce, a 38% chance of ending up childless, and a better-than-even chance of living her whole life with no biological grandchildren.  So sparse are siblings, aunts, and uncles that “rental relatives” are now readily available for brides and grooms lacking family to fill their wedding ceremonies. As bad as things seem, they will probably get worse.

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