TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taipei has reported a steady decline year by year in marriage rates over the past five years, with 2017 reaching an eight year low.
According to the Civil Affairs Bureau, only 16,157 unions were reported in the city for the entire year. While the previous three years indicated a steady decline, last year’s number shows an even more precipitous drop than in previous years.
In 2014, the number of unions in Taipei City was 19,139, and in 2015 the number decreased to 18,771. In 2016, a further decrease of almost 1,000 was recorded with 17,796 marriages.
The continuing decline by nearly 1,500 marriages in a single year is a worrying trend for many, especially as the 8 year low in the city’s marriage rate coincides with an eight year low in the birth rate as well.
For comparison, the birthrate in 2014 was 29,024 births in the city, while remaining close to steady in 2015, numbers dropped by about 1,000 in 2016 to 27,992. Then a precipitous drop occurred over 2017, resulting in 25,042 births last year.
The Liberty Times reports that Lin Chenli (林陳立), a doctor at Taipei City Hospital, Dept. of Obstetrics and Gynecology, remarked that the proportion of childbirths outside of marriage in Taiwan is exceedingly small, so a declining rate of marriage is a good indicator that the birthrate is also set for a significant drop over the coming year.
The government is looking for ways to address the problem of falling birthrates, and many suggest that the best approach should be to incentivize marriage.
In Taipei city, the busiest urban center in Taiwan, many people are more focused on their careers, and are choosing to marry later and later. A general consequence of later marriage is also that older couples will tend to produce less offspring.
To better incentivize marriage among younger adults, the government should invest into more comprehensive family support programs, and educational institutions better suited to help ease the burden of child rearing, which will in turn encourage more families to consider having a second child, according to sources speaking to Liberty Times.