Taiwan's birthrate plunges to an 8-year low in 2018

Taiwan's birthrate continued to plummet to an eight-year low of 181,601 in 2018

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(By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- With only 181,601 births last year, Taiwan's birthrate dropped to an eight-year low in 2018, announced the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) on Sunday (Jan. 6).

According to the latest statistics by the MOI, the number of newborns in 2018 dropped to an eight-year low of 181,601, a plunge of 12,243 from the previous year, while only 135,404 couples wed, a dip of 2,630 from 2017, representing a nine-year low. The latest data reflects a worsening of the recent trend of "no marriage, no children," though it has yet to reach the bleak situation seen during the financial crisis of 2008.

As of the end of December last year, Taiwan's total population was 23,588,932, with the country's 11,876,000 females slightly outnumbering the nation's 11,712,000 million males. In 2018, Taiwan's crude birthrate was 7.56 per 1,000, the lowest rate in eight years.

In contrast, during Taiwan's post-WWII baby boom, births peaked at about 300,000 to 400,000 newborns a year. When the financial crisis struck in 2008, the number of births dropped below 200,000 for the first time, and by 2010, the birthrate plummeted to its lowest level in history at 166,000.

Since that time, the number of births per year has stayed below the 200,000 threshold, with the number dropping to 190,000 in 2017 and a little over 180,000 last year.

The MOI said the area with lowest birthrates in Taiwan was Pingtung County at 5.1, followed by Chiayi County, and Keelung County, at 5.2, and 5.5, respectively. The area with the highest birthrate in Taiwan, was Lienchiang County at 18.95, followed by 10.2 in Taoyuan City and 9.2 in both Changhua County and Hsinchu City.

Statistics also showed that the 135,404 newlywed couples seen last year was a decrease of 2,630, or a drop of 1.9 percent from 2017, marking a nine-year low, and only slightly higher than the 117,000 couples married in 2009.

By the end of the year, there were 4.42 million unmarried people in Taiwan between the ages of 20 and 40, as well as over 1 million unmarried people above the age of 40. Last year, only 270,000 people got married, leaving over four million young adults of marriageable age unwed.

According to analysis by the MOI, the number of births is closely related to the number of marriages, with fewer marriages resulting in a lower number of births. The MOI listed a number of factors that seemed to correlate with the decrease in marriages and births, including, higher levels of eduction, inability to locate suitable partners for marriage, low wages for young people, and high housing prices.