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New births in Taiwan fall to record low in 2023, but population rises

01/10/2024 04:48 PM
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CNA photo Jan. 10, 2024
CNA photo Jan. 10, 2024

Taipei, Jan. 10 (CNA) The number of births in Taiwan hit a new low in 2023, continuing a trend that is shaking up the country's demographic profile, but its overall population still rose due to a carryover effect from COVID-19.

A total of 135,571 people were born in Taiwan during the year, representing a crude birth rate of 5.82 births per 1,000 people, down from 5.96 in 2022, according to figures released Wednesday by the Ministry of the Interior (MOI).

The number of newborns was down 30 percent from the 193,844 babies born in 2017, when the crude birth rate was 8.23, and continued a steady decline from 181,601 in 2018 to 177,767 in 2019, 165,249 in 2020, 153,820 in 2021, and 138,986 in 2022, the MOI statistics showed.

At the same time, deaths in Taiwan exceeded 200,000 for the second time in recorded history, totaling 205,368. That was down 1,862, or 0.9 percent, from the record 207,230 Taiwan citizens who died in 2022, and represented a crude death rate of 7.90, the statistics showed.

The difference in births and deaths resulted in a natural population decrease of 69,797 people, but Taiwan's population rose 0.67 percent, or 155,802 people, to 23,420,442 in 2023, the figures showed.

The population increase was caused in large part by what the MOI called "net immigration," which actually reflected distortions created during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taiwan's population records are based on Taiwan's household registration data, and under household registration rules, citizens who remain outside of Taiwan for two years without entering the country are automatically removed from household records.

That occurred during the pandemic, when Taiwanese citizens were caught outside the country and unable to return due to tight travel and border restrictions, leading to "net emigration" in the population figures of about 166,000 people in 2021 and 57,000 people in 2022.

As a result, Taiwan's population fell from 23,561,236 at the end of 2020 to 23,375,314 in 2021 and 23,264,640 in 2022.

In 2023, tens of thousands of Taiwanese citizens had their household registrations restored, contributing to "net immigration" of 225,599, more than offsetting Taiwan's natural population decline.

Meanwhile, the number of marriages in Taiwan last year rose to the highest since 2020 at 125,192, compared with 124,997 in 2022.

A total of 53,085 couples got divorced last year, equal to 2.18 divorces per 1,000 people, the ministry said. It was the highest number of divorces since 54,473 couples were divorced in 2019.

(By Chen Chun-hua and Evelyn Kao)

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