Majority of immigrants to Taiwan 'happy' despite low household income
Taipei, Jan. 28 (CNA) Immigrants married to Taiwanese nationals are almost universally happy with life in Taiwan, even though their average household income is less than half the national average, according to census results released Wednesday by the Interior Ministry.
A total of 498,368 foreign-born spouses, including both naturalized immigrants and foreign nationals, currently call Taiwan home. At 67.6 percent, over two-thirds come from mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau; another 28.1 percent are from Southeast Asia, predominately Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Cambodia, according to ministry statistics.
In the once-in-five years census among foreign-born spouses, 92.9 percent of respondents labeled life in their adoptive country "happy", while another 87 percent said they do not have trouble communicating with Taiwanese family members despite cultural and linguistic barriers.
Yet the survey found that average household income in families with new immigrants was NT$46,173 (US$1479.43) each month, less than half the NT$98,073 earned in the average Taiwanese household.
As for children of immigrants, the ministry found that 40.3 percent of children interviewed for the census cannot speak their foreign-born parents' native languages despite a government push to promote "mother language" learning.
The statistics also showed that the largest single group of all immigrants by marriage, 315,293 people or 63.3 percent, is women from China, Hong Kong or Macau. The next biggest is women from Vietnam at 90,503.
For men, the largest single group also is made up of those from China, Hong Kong and Macau at 21,735, with men from Thailand taking a distant second place at 2,661.
The survey part of the census was conducted during visits to immigrants between September and December 2013, yielding 13,688 valid samples. Further samples were collected during eight forums for foreign-born spouses and two expert forums in mid-2014.
The ministry also gave a nod to local governments around Taiwan that have taken efforts to make life a little easier for the growing foreign-born population.
The island county of Kinmen and all six municipalities except for Taoyuan have special immigrant affairs departments, and the central government offers a toll-free information hotline in seven languages for immigrants and foreign nationals, the agency said.
(By Kelven Huang and Wesley Holzer)ENDITEM
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