Income Disparity Among Elderly People in Japan: Life Course Factors on Retired Life

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 4:45 PM
Room: Booth 42
Distributed Paper
Kazuo SEIYAMA , Sociology, Kwansei-Gakuin University, Nishinomiya, Japan
With societies being increasingly aged, the inequality among the retired population should be more focused in stratification study. My previous study (Seiyama 2009) had analyzed, using 1995 SSM data, the reason for the larger income disparity among the elderly in Japan to some extent, but there were two serious defects in the data: that is, people aged more than 70 were excluded and the information on income sources including pension were not available. This is a new analysis on the income disparity among the elderly, based on a new nation-wide survey conducted in 2010, headed by Shirahase, with effective 6,442 respondents from 50 to 84 years old population, comprising various stratification variables such as income source.

     The main results are; (a) in Japan the income of the male elderly is mainly composed of working income and pension, while capital income is quite negligible. (b) Gini coefficient within age group is larger for the groups aged 60 or more than for two groups of 50’s, mainly because of the fact that for the elderly the proportion of those with only meager income is large. (c) After 65, the main source of income becomes pension (more than 2/3 of total income), though exceptional cases are blessed with significant amount of working income (mainly administrative or self-employed.) (d) The overall income inequality among the retired reflects the inequality in pension. (e) The main factors on the pension inequality are education and occupational career characteristics at working age, but controlling for the latter the effect of education is largely reduced. (f) The important occupational career characteristics are the size of company and the experience of executive post. (g) Because the single earner family model had been prominent for the cohorts of our survey respondents, a basically similar conclusion is derived for household income.