TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taipei’s population fell under the 2.6 million mark in January, according to the Taipei Department of Civil Affairs.
The decrease in the number of inhabitants was due to the city’s high cost of living, the convenient transportation links to neighboring cities, and the COVID-19 pandemic, CNA reported.
The department’s data showed the city’s population was 2,597,635 in January. The number had been 2,602,418 at the close of 2020, which was already the lowest in 23 years.
Even though the number of residents in the capital has decreased, the number of people who work in the city has not, said Wu Chung-hsing (吳重信), division chief of population policy at the department. Wu based his conclusions on MRT traffic flow patterns, pointing to the easy commutes to nearby cities as his primary explanation for the decline in Taipei’s population.
With the extension of the MRT and railroad systems as well as the high cost of living in Taipei, many people would rather commute in from neighboring New Taipei, Keelung, or Taoyuan, Wu explained.
The department’s 2019 and 2020 population data showed that most of the people leaving Taipei went to New Taipei’s Xizhi, Xindian, and Sanchong districts.
COVID-19 has also played a role in the city’s population decline, according to the official. He said that about 20,000 Taipei citizens residing overseas return to live in the city every year, but many of them had been unable to return, accounting for about 10,000 fewer citizens.
Wu went on to note that Taipei City Government is taking measures to lower the cost of living in the city.