TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan now has the lowest birth rate in the world, according to the CIA.
In the CIA's latest report on the total fertility rate (TFR), which assesses the average number of children women in a given country are expected to have during their childbearing years, Taiwan was ranked last out of 227 countries at 1.07 children per woman. The countries with the next four lowest birth rates are all in Asia: South Korea at 1.09, Singapore at 1.15, Macau at 1.21, and Hong Kong at 1.22.
African nations account for the highest fertility rates in the world, with Niger in first place at 6.91 children per woman, followed by Angola at 5.90, the Democratic Republic of the Congo at 5.70, Mali at 5.63, and Chad at 5.57, rounding out the top five. The CIA considers women's prime childbearing years to be between the ages of 15 and 45.
Despite Taiwan's exceptional handling of the pandemic, with only 11 deaths from COVID-19, the country's fertility rate has continued to plummet. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MOI), Taiwan had a record low of 165,249 births in 2020, while it registered 173,156 deaths over the same period.
In the first quarter of this year, the downward trend continued with only 34,917 births. This marked a 13.6 percent decrease over the same period last year and was yet another all-time low.
Experts say a country's fertility rate has long-term consequences for its economy. If Taiwan's birth rate continues to decline, it may hinder economic growth and pose a challenge to the nation's social security system.