Household Finances of Toyama Citizens and What They Reveal

Originally written for the Vol.6-No.1 edition (April 13, 2012) of the Toyama Hot News e-newsletter.

In these uncertain economic times, Toyama Prefecture has released the 2010 Household Finance Survey Report for Toyama City. Toyama ranks third in the country for monthly average income per household with at least two people (615,372 yen) and first in disposable income (536,636 yen). Among interesting statistics on food expenditures, Toyama ranks first in the country in per capita spending on buri (yellowtail, a specialty of Toyama) for the 39th year in a row, pickled seafood for the 22nd year, and konbu (kelp) for the 51st year running.

The survey is conducted by Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications through the prefectural governments. Samples of monthly income and expenditures of households across the country give a picture of people’s lifestyles, and is a good resource for governments. Toyama Prefecture analyzed the numbers for 8,821 households in Japan against 104 households in Toyama City.

Taking a closer look at household income, the average earnings and/or public pension benefits from household members other than the primary income earner is much higher than the national average, and points to Toyama’s high percentage of dual-income and multigenerational households. Disposable income (total income minus taxes and insurance) has increased 8.4 percent compared to the previous year (national average: 1.3 percent increase). Average monthly household surplus (total income minus real spending) is the highest in Japan.

Many of the food expenditures reflect the local culture. Aside from the aforementioned seafood and konbu, Toyama also ranks 1st in Japan for expenditures on processed vegetables & seaweed (e.g. canned vegetables) and kiwi fruit. Toyama ranks second for eggplant, fresh shiitake mushrooms, picked daikon (white radish), and coffee beverages, and third in expenditures for mochi and deli items. Seafood and konbu consumption is high in Toyama because of the abundance of products from Toyama Bay and the history of konbu trade with Hokkaido. A possible explanation for the popularity in deli items is, again, the high number of dual-income households. Compared to national figures, the consumption of fish is higher than average and the consumption of meat is lower than average. Lowest-ranking food items in Toyama as compared to the rest of Japan include sugar, spaghetti, and eggs.

As for housing, based on average expenditures between 2008 and 2010, monthly rent is one of the lowest in the country, but home improvement and repair expenditures were the highest in Japan. These could be explained by the high percentage of home ownership in Toyama (78.3% for the prefecture, the highest in Japan).

Yearly spending money per household in Toyama is the highest in the country. Interesting figures include the fact that Toyama spends the most on cosmetic emulsions, and fifth most on public baths and hot springs.

Many statistics on Toyama Prefecture and its cities are available on the “Toyama Statistics World” website (Japanese only).

Source (article and photo): Toyama Just Now