Poverty trend and economic environment


Graph 1:  Relative poverty rate and child poverty rate, 1985-2012; 相対的貧困率と子供の貧困率、1985-2012
(Comprehensive survey of Living Conditions 2013, Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare;平成25年国民生活基礎調査の概要 厚生労働省)

Graph 2:  Household income mean and mean real, 1985-2012; 世帯可処分所得中央値と世帯可処分所得中央値実質、1985-2012
(Comprehensive survey of Living Conditions 2013, Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare;平成25年国民生活基礎調査の概要 厚生労働省)

Graph 3:  Economic growth rate=[(GDP(yr)-GDP(yr-1)]/GDP(yr-1)x100, real GDP; 経済成長率=(当年GDP-前年GDP)/前年GDPx100、実質GDP
(Data based on SNA (System of National Accounts);SNA(国民経済計算)に基づくデータ)

Table:  Poverty rate and disposable household income trend; 貧困率と世帯可処分所得中央値の傾向 (Comprehensive survey of Living Conditions 2013, Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare;平成25年国民生活基礎調査の概要 厚生労働省)

Data
1) Household income mean increased up to 1997 and has been decreasing since
2) Relative poverty and child poverty rates are generally increasing but both decreased momentarily around 2003
3) Real GDP growth rates (annual) have been generally positive except in 1998, 2008, and 2009 when the rates were below -1.0 (1998 and 2008 data not shown); however, if GDP growth rates reliably represent economic growth, household income is generally unaffected by economic growth in recent years after 2000
4) After 2000, the generally decreasing trend of household income is consistent with the generally increasing trend of poverty rates
5) As a general trend, relative and child poverty increase rates decreased in the 1997-2009 term compared to the 1985-1997 term.  Relative poverty increase rate declined from 22% to 12%, and child poverty increase rate declined from 21% to 19%.

Poverty rates and household income mean are generally unaffected by the changes in economic climate, if GDP growth rates represent it reliably.  In this environment of business culture and income redistribution schemes, meaningful increase in the household income of the impoverished group seems unlikely even if business conditions improve and the country gains financially.  The stoppers of income flow to the households of the people in need must be altered.  These may be hiring practices, assumed endless growth requirement of companies, distribution priorities, or other discriminating factors generating unfavorable conditions for those in need.

Perhaps the disposable income of various household groups in the country, especially the group of households living under the relative poverty level, should be monitored and used as a metric to measure the success level of economic policies.  Evaluating measures that more closely represent purchase capabilities can help to identify the stoppers for each income level group quickly and accurately.