According to the Opinion Survey on the General Public’s Views and Behavior conducted by the Bank of Japan (BOJ) in December 2017, only 6.5% of respondents said that they “have become better off” [compared to a year ago], down 0.8 percentage points from the previous survey taken in September 2017. Some 12.9% of respondents said that their income “has increased compared with one year ago,” down 0.9 points. This brings into sharp relief the fact that households do not have a tangible sense of being better off, even though corporate earnings have risen to historic highs with the economic recovery.
The BOJ conducts this survey quarterly. [For the December 2017 survey] some 2,201 men and women living in Japan who are at least 20 years of age provided valid responses. The BOJ announced the results of the recent survey on Jan. 11.
Although [the majority of respondents said their] income has not increased, some 41.5% of respondents said their “spending has increased” [compared with one year ago], up 3 points from the previous survey. The BOJ Public Relations Department analyzes the situation as follows: “It seems that people have the sense that their household circumstances have deteriorated as their income has remained flat but their spending has increased due to such factors as price increases and the replacement of consumer durables.”