Taiwan's population trending toward faster decline than predicted

Taiwan to be 'super-aged society' by 2026, country could shrivel to 16 million by 2065


(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The latest estimate by the National Development Council (NDC) shows that Taiwan's population will begin to decline three years earlier than previously predicted, with the country becoming a "super-aged" society by 2026 and the population shriveling to as low as 16 million by 2065.

The results of NDC's latest biennial report titled "Population Projections for R.O.C. (Taiwan): 2018~2065" show that Taiwan's population will begin to decline in 2022, three years sooner than the previous estimate.

Based on the median estimate, which has a fertility rate of 1.09, Taiwan's population will peak at 23.61 million in 2021 and start to decline in 2022. According to the median projections, by the year 2065, Taiwan's population will shrivel to 17 million, while the high estimate is 18 million and the low projection is 16 million.

NDC Minister Chen Mei-ling (陳美伶) said "This estimate is an early warning, but this early warning does not mean we will decline,” reported CNA. She said that although negative growth is currently being predicted, she believes that it is a message to the government to now put forward some policies and "do something” to avoid this situation.

Taiwan this year already became an "aged society" with over 14 percent of the population classified as elderly. By 2026, Taiwan will become a "super-aged society," one in which percentage of elderly exceeds 20 percent, in a span of only eight years, a faster clip than seen or projected for Europe, the U.S., Japan and other industrialized countries.

Regarding aging, Chen said that the average lifespan of Taiwanese is continuing to increase and with the improvement of Taiwan's health insurance system and public health policy, the number of healthy senior citizens is increasing, reported CNA. Given the improved health and longevity of the elderly population, Chen suggested possibly reevaluating the definition of "elderly."

During a meeting of members of the NDC over the results of the latest population estimates, Chen said that Nordic countries consider people 67 and older to be elderly, while in Taiwan the age is 65, and that perhaps the government should consider raising the age at when citizens are considered elderly.