A recent survey confirms the already well understood importance of wealthy spouses to Japanese women, suggesting that perhaps falling marriage and birth rates may have some connection to the possibly unrealistic expectations of such women with respect to income:
Over 90% overall (of both genders) desired marriage to various degrees. A similar result was obtained asking about whether children were desired.
60% of men expressed no preference over their partner’s income.
Male income desired by women (per annum salaries in yen):
Below 3,000,000: 0.9%
Over 5,000,000, below 10,000,000: 43.7%
Over 10,000,000: 9.8%
Average “salaryman” salaries versus age (in millions of yen):
Male: 20～24: 2.7 25～29: 3.79 30～34: 4.61
Female: 20～24: 2.31 25～29: 2.94 30～34: 2.99
The overall average for such workers of all ages is 4.37 million.
Marriage statistics suggest most women want a partner within 5 years of their own age. The actual age difference between partners has declined to 1.7 years in 2005, down from 2.9 in 1987.
These are based on official statistics and private surveys.
This can be interpreted as showing that women want a partner of the same generation, but the overwhelming majority also want a partner with an income significantly above average, and probably significantly more than their own.
A more controversial interpretation we see is that these women have little appreciation of their own social position (or at least are wildly ambitious), as the number of men earning at the levels being sought is much lower than the demand, suggesting the income expectations of most are completely unrealistic.
Although there is obviously a contingent who will settle for something more realistic, looking at the overall marriage and birth rate statistics suggests such optimistic expectations may be a factor.
Of course, these are just some of the interpretations possible – placing blame on Japanese women is not the intent, and nor is the evidence used here conclusive in any way.