How many Hakkas are there in Taiwan? The answer may be in a recent government survey which concluded the Hakkas accounts for 25.6 percent of Taiwan's entire population, meaning just over one in four people in the country is from the Hakka ethnic group.
The 2008 poll was launched by the Cabinet-level Council for Hakka Affairs (CHA), a government body which deals with matters concerning the Hakkas - the second largest ethnic group in Taiwan, following the Hoklo, early immigrants from southern China's Fujian province.
Unlike the Hoklos, ancestors of Taiwan's Hakkas immigrated mostly from China's Guangdong province.
The Hakkas are a sub-group of the Han Chinese people who fled famine and wars in central China in past centuries and eventually settled in southern and eastern China, predominantly in the provinces of Guangdong, Jiangxi and Fujian.
The survey - the most comprehensive yet - found that 13.5 percent of the respondents identified themselves directly or clearly as Hakka people, while 5.1 percent held a multiple identity with one of them being Hakka, and 7 percent said they are related to Hakkas in blood ties.
The survey concluded that Taiwan's Hakka population - in a wide definition - reached nearly 5.79 million people in Taiwan.
CHA Minister Huang Yu-cheng has dubbed the survey on the Hakka population and its basic data as the newest and most authoritative references for research on the Hakka people and their life in Taiwan.
Previous government statistics on the Hakka population found that they made up some 22 percent of the total population.
According to the 2008 survey, Taiwan's Hakkas were found concentrated in the counties of Hsinchu, Miaoli and Taoyuan in northern Taiwan and Pingtung in southern Taiwan.
The highest concentrations of Hakka people were located in Hsinchu County's Hengshan and Beipu townships and Miaoli County's Tongluo township, with the Hakka population in these places each reaching nearly 95 percent of the total population, the survey showed.
The percentage of Hakkas in Gongguan and Touwu townships of Miaoli County, as well as the Emei township of Hsinchu County meanwhile reached 90 percent of the townships' population.
In eastern Taiwan's Hualien county, and northern Taiwan's Hsinchu City, 20 percent of the population are from the Hakka ethnic group, according to the survey.
The survey was conducted by a private survey company contracted by the CHA in 368 townships and cities, as well as the outlying Kinmen, Penghu and Lienchiang counties through telephone interviews on randomly selected adult citizens. A total of 51,803 valid samples were collected. The margin of error reached 0.5 percentage points.