TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An expert has suggested that an increase in the nation's marriage rate is a key to boosting Taiwan’s birth rates.
Taiwan had experienced a population decline in 2020, for the first time ever. In the past year, the country saw 165,249 births and 173,156 deaths. It recorded an overall population of 23,561,236, down 41,885, or 0.18 percent, from the previous year, according to the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) data.
Authorities must address the fundamental reasons behind the country’s falling marriage rates, which have had an impact on the number of newborns, said Cheng Yen-hsin (鄭雁馨), an associate research fellow at the Institute of Sociology, Academic Sinica. Whether it is people’s tendency to shun marriages, lack of social skills to find a partner, or difficulties in forming a family, it needs to be sorted out, she said.
There are also the issues of the efficacy of parental leave policies, the lack of incentives for births outside of marriage, and insufficient child-rearing support, CNA quoted her as saying.
Japan and South Korea, for example, have invested considerable resources in encouraging men to take parental leaves, but the policy has been poorly implemented due to the rigid corporate culture in both countries. Workplace discrimination also needs to be addressed before such measures can succeed.
Meanwhile, compared to the 41 percent rate of births outside of marriage in EU countries, only four percent of births in Taiwan are by mothers who are listed as not married, she reckoned. Cheng said that the country needs to do more to increase society’s tolerance to such children to boost the dwindling birth rate.
According to MOI statistics, Taiwan has seen its national marriage rate decline over the years, which was 5.62 percent in 2019, 5.72 percent in 2018, 5.84 percent in 2017, 6.31 percent in 2016, and 6.56 percent in 2015.