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Taiwan's indigenous population grows to 552,000

The indigenous population of Taiwan grew six times more than average growth rate for the country as a whole

Indigenous Taiwanese women dancing

Indigenous Taiwanese women dancing (Wikimedia Commons photo)

The population of indigenous people in Taiwan was 552,000 as of the end of October, 2.3 percent of the total population, according to statistics released Thursday by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS).

The number represents a 1.2 percent annual increase, which is six times the 0.2 percent growth in the total population over the same period, the statistics show.

Within the population of 552,000 indigenous people, 284,000 are female, representing 51.4 percent, and 269,000, or 48.6 percent, are male, according to the data.

The sex ratio in the indigenous population is 94.6 males to 100 females, compared with 99.2 in the country's total population.

In a breakdown by age, the data shows that under-14s account for 20 percent of the indigenous population, while the national ratio for that age group is 13.4 percent.

However, the ratios in the 15-64 age bracket are similar at 73 percent in the indigenous population and 73.6 percent nationally, according to the statistics.

A stark difference was evident, however, in the over 65 age group, which accounted for 7.1 percent of the indigenous population and 13.1 percent of the country's total population, according the data.

The DGBAS said the figures indicated a higher birth rate and shorter life expectancy among Taiwan's indigenous people than in the wider population.

Taiwan has 16 recognized indigenous tribes, the largest of which is the Amis with a population of 206,000, or 37.3 percent of the indigenous people, followed by the Paiwan (17.9 percent) and Atayal (15.9 percent), according to the data.

The highest concentration of indigenous people is in the eastern county of Hualien, which is home to 92,000 indigenous people, while the second largest number is in neighboring Taitung County (79,000), the statistics show.

(By Chen Cheng-wei and Romulo Huang)