TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – With only 193,000 births across Taiwan last year and a national fertility rate of only 1.125, many wonder why the trend continues to decline and how it might be reversed.
Currently Taiwan is third from last place for having the lowest birth rate in the world, ranking above only Singapore and Macau. A survey recently conducted in Taiwan sought to determine why Taiwan’s working age population were unable or unwilling to have children.
The three main reasons revealed by the survey data are; that office workers feel they do not have enough money to raise a child; they do not have enough money to purchase a house; and they are too busy and spending too much time at work to raise a child.
The survey “An investigative Survey into Worker’s Plans for Parenthood” (上班族生養育計畫調查) was carried out March 15-27 by an online job search website yes123, among university graduates over the age of twenty, with the results released on April 2.
According to the survey data, the most frequently cited reason for avoiding parenthood is that respondents worry they do not make enough money to adequately care for a child (66.3 percent).
The second most frequently cited reason (42.2 percent) is; the workers said they are unable to afford a house currently, and want to be able to provide a home for any future children.
The third most cited reason (28.9 percent) was that people were simply too busy with their job and would not be able to devote enough time to taking care of a child.
The fourth and fifth most cited reasons were; dissatisfaction with Taiwan’s education system (23.5 percent) and a fear that their child may be hurt or face unstable dangerous social condition in the future (21.9 percent).
A representative for yes123 determined that Taiwan’s stagnant salary has had a large influence in reducing the desire of Taiwan’s working age population to have children. They suggest that total household income of both parents should be approximately NT$102,000 (US$3,500) dollars to support a child while maintaining a comfortable standard of living, reports ETEE.
Low salaries in addition to long working hours and the high price of real estate are large contributors to the unwillingness of young people to have children, the survey concluded.