Taipei, May 14 (CNA) Taiwan's birth rate has been dwindling overthe last few decades and had dropped to an average of 1.03 births perwoman last year from 3.09 recorded in 1976, according to datareleased Friday by the Ministry of the Interior (MOI).
The number of births in 2009 fell to 191,310 from 425,125recorded in 1976, while the crude birth rate -- the annual number ofbirths per 1,000 of the total population -- was only 8.29 last year,a big drop from 25.92 in 1976. Both figures are new record lows, theMOI statistics show.
The MOI attributed Taiwan's low birth rate to fewer marriages,people getting married later and increased use of birth control.
The number of marriages amounted to a high of 181,642 in 2000from 152,401 in 1976, before beginning a downward trend that saw thefigure drop to 117,099 last year. The 2009 crude marriage rate fellto 5.07 from 25.92 in 1976, according to the MOI data.
The MOI report also found that the average age for men to getmarried last year was 33.9, compared with 27.9 in 1976, while forwomen, it was 30.3, compared with 23.8 in 1976.
The number of divorces, meanwhile, dropped to 57,223 last yearafter breaking 10,000 in 1976 and hitting a high of 64,866 in 2003.
Taiwan's crude divorce rate was 2.55 in 2007, lower than the 3.6in the United States, 2.63 in Switzerland and 2.58 in South Korea,but higher than Japan's 2.02, the United Kingdom's 2.36 and France's2.11, according to the MOI data.
(By Chiachen Hsieh and Y.L. Kao)