Taiwan’s population first fell in 2020

Taiwan’s population declined for the first time in 2020, government data showed on Friday, as the island faces an emerging population crisis similar to those affecting South Korea and Japan.

Last year, births fell to 165,000, down 7% from 2019. Deaths also exceeded births for the first time, pushing the island’s total population down 0.2% to 23.56 million, announced the Interior Ministry.

Taiwan’s birth rate has fallen steadily since 2000, a period when wages have remained stubbornly stagnant.

Demographers say Taiwanese women are increasingly marrying at older ages, opting for smaller families or choosing to remain single.

Rising living costs and insufficient childcare services have also forced some working women to postpone their plans to become mothers.

The rapid aging of the population has raised concerns that the island’s economy suffers from a declining workforce.

The previous record was 166,000 babies born in 2010 – the year of the tiger in the Chinese zodiac, when births typically fall due to many taboos associated with the sign.

The Year of the Dragon – the next year scheduled for 2024 – is considered the most auspicious of the Chinese zodiac and typically sees a peak in births.

In 2019, Taiwan’s birth rate was the second lowest in the world after South Korea, where the population also fell for the first time in 2020.

Experts say the phenomenon in South Korea has multiple causes, including spending on educating children and soaring house prices, associated with a notoriously competitive society that makes it difficult to secure jobs. well paid.

Japan first recorded a decline in its population in 2011.

Janice J. Kostka