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Taiwan's 2015 births second highest in decade

2016/01/09 13:01:19

Taipei, Jan. 9 (CNA) A total of 213,598 new born babies were registered in 2015, the second highest number of births in Taiwan over the past decade, the Ministry of the Interior said Saturday.

The figure was 3,215 more than the number in 2014. It was also the second highest births in Taiwan in a decade, behind only the 229,481 births registered in 2012, the ministry said.

In addition to an increase in new born babies, Taiwan also saw more marriages in 2015, when the government registered a total of 154,346 new married couples, compared with 149,287 in 2014, the ministry said.

The number of registered marriages in 2015 was the third highest in 10 years, it added.

The increases in births and marriages showed that the government's policy of encouraging people to get married and have children is working, the ministry said.

According to the ministry, the incentives offered by the central government include a monthly subsidy of NT$2,500 to NT$4,000 (US$74-US$119) given to families to raise a child, a subsidy of more than NT$2,000 per month for hiring a babysitter and free tuition for children aged 5.

In addition to these incentives, couples can also enjoy assistance offered by some local governments, the ministry said.

For example, the New Taipei City government offers a NT$20,000 grant for a woman who gives birth to a baby. It has also set up about 40 public child care centers, where the costs are much cheaper than private nurseries or hiring a babysitter, it said, adding that the policy has proved successful and has increased the city's birth rate by 30 percent.

Increasing the nation's birth rate as its population is rapidly aging is considered crucial to maintaining Taiwan's competitiveness as well as ensuring economic growth and an adequate labor supply.

According to a government report on the development of the country's population, senior citizens accounted for 12 percent of Taiwan's population in 2014, but the ratio could rise up to 41 percent by 2061.

If the trend of a low birth rate and low marriage rate continues, it is very likely that Taiwan will see negative growth in its population as early as 2019, the ministry said, citing the government report.

(By Tai Ya-chen and Elaine Hou)
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