Lies, damned lies and the Nikkei

Fewer Than Half Of Young People Support Themselves: Report

TOKYO (Nikkei)—Just 44% of those aged 15-34 subsist on their own income, the Labor Ministry wrote Thursday in a report that reflects young people’s struggle with low wages.

A full 46.8% of the group rely on additional income from some other source, such as their parents.

Of those 15-34 with full-time jobs, 51.6% live on their own income, but only 30.3% engaged in other types of jobs are self-reliant.

I got this article from a co-worker earlier today. He remarked “What’s interesting is that only 51% of people with full-time jobs can (or rather do) support themselves.” But that conclusion falls apart when you see the original statistics in the original Japanese (here):

Note the column headings. The options for the survey were:

Living Expense Situation (Multiple Answer) Combination (生計状況(複数回答)の組み合わせ)
(1) Own income only (自身の収入のみ)
(2) Own income plus other income (自身の収入+他の収入)
(3) Other income only (他の収入のみ)

Now the situation becomes clearer. That 44% figure only includes people who are actually paying for all of their living expenses with their own income. It excludes many people living with their parents or grandparents, all working couples (even where one person is a part-timer), and probably even certain parents with working children. It excludes me and Adamu, both productive employees in the financial industry who just happen to have working spouses.

Of course, that fact doesn’t help push the narrative that young Japanese people are getting poorer and/or lazier—and here we can see that respected Japanese media like the Nikkei can skew facts toward their chosen narrative just as badly as respected foreign media like the New York Times.

3 thoughts on “Lies, damned lies and the Nikkei

  1. This kind of data is worthless without a time series.

    We get no idea if the proportion of people living on their sole income has increased, decreased or stayed the same.

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