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Social Networks and Family Change in Japan


Rindfuss, Ronald R.; Choe, Minja Kim; Bumpass, Larry L.; & Tsuya, Noriko O. (2004). Social Networks and Family Change in Japan. American Sociological Review, 69(6), 838-861.


Japan, unlike most Western countries, has not experienced several components of the second demographic transition, including cohabitation, widespread use of childcare centers, unmarried childbearing, and nonmarriage. Yet there is evidence that Japan is ripe for change in such family behaviors. This article examines a set of innovative questions related to knowing individuals who have engaged in these behaviors by type of relationship (sibling, other relative, friend, and coworker) respondent has to such individuals. We find that a large proportion of the Japanese population knows someone who has cohabited, used childcare, had a nonmarital birth, or plans to remain unmarried. This knowledge is patterned by both relationship domain and social structural variables. There is a strong positive association between knowing someone who has engaged in one of these behaviors and attitudes toward nontraditional family behavior, suggesting pathways by which micro-level interpersonal interactions may be linked to macro-level social change.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Sociological Review


Rindfuss, Ronald R.
Choe, Minja Kim
Bumpass, Larry L.
Tsuya, Noriko O.