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Taiwan's birth rate continues to drop; Year of the Tiger blamed

2010/07/17 20:35:47

Taipei, July 17 (CNA) The number of babies born in Taiwan duringthe first six months of the year reached 82,712, registering adecline of 8.9 percent compared to the same period in 2009, accordingto Ministry of the Interior's (MOI) statistics released Saturday.

The ministry attributed the drop to some people's reluctance tohave children born in the "Year of the Tiger, " which is one of theyears in the 12-year cycle of animals on the Chinese zodiac.

The drop, however, was smaller than the 16.7 percent year-on-yeardecline in the previous Year of the Tiger that fell in 1998, theministry said in a statement.

For the January-June period, Taiwan recorded a crude birth rateof only 3.58, the lowest level ever in Taiwan, the statistics showed.Crude birth rate is calculated based on the number of babies born per1,000 people per year.

Taiwan has one of the world's lowest birth rates of eight per1,000 people in 2009, far lower than the global average of 20 birthsper 1,000 people.

Last year, 191,310 babies were born in Taiwan, which was downnearly 4 percent from the previous year.

The latest MOI tallies show that the high-tech hub near Taipei --Hsinchu City -- recorded the highest birth rate of 5.8 per 1,000among all cities and counties around Taiwan, followed by 5.37 inKinmen County and 5 in Hsinchu County.

Over 90 percent of the newborn babies in the first six months ofthe year were given birth by local mothers, while 5 percent were bornto mothers from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, and 3.9 percentto mothers from other countries, the statistics showed.

To increase the birth rate, Taiwan's government has launched manyprograms, including offering subsidies for families to hire nanniesor have their babies attend day care centers, as well as subsidiesfor people who want to go on extended parental leave without salary,the MOI said.

(By Hsieh Chia-chen and Elizabeth Hsu)