Reported by Chen Mei-Ing and Lin Hui-Cin from Taipei
According to a study published by the Institute of Economics of the Academia Sinica, Taiwan has the world’s lowest birth rate. The impact is not yet obvious, but it will gradually shake the country. If things have not changed, there will be a shortage of workforce, a reduction in national output, a lower income, an insufficient tax revenue and, hence, a shrinking social welfare. The future of Taiwan may become old and poor.
The ideal birth rate is 2.1 kids for each couple. Tung An-Chi, an Associate Research Fellow of the Academia Sinica, expressed that the idea birth rate actually varies from country to country. In her research, she studied 40 countries and found that there is impact from either a high birth rate or a low one.
The average birth rate is 1.65 in 17 high income countries, including Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and the US. In those countries, to support the government’s long-term financing requires a birth rate at 2.94. However, i¬¬f the government’s long-term policy is to sustain a high consumption, then the ideal birth rate is 1.48-1.78. Either way, it is higher than the current birth rate in Taiwan.
Tung An-Chi expressed that the research results may somehow ease the world’s concern of a low birth rate, but not for Taiwan, which is at the bottom of the league. The threat of becoming an ageing population is looming up in front of Taiwan.
Tung cited the data published by the National Development Council and pointed out that, at this rate, by 2061 the population in Taiwan will be under18 million. Also, the long-term average consumption per capita will reduce by 4% when the birth rate drops from 2.1 to 1.1. It will have an impact on the living standard, i.e. people will feel poorer.
As the impact emerges gradually and it takes times to see the result of the government’s population policy, Tung suggested that the government should draw up an effective population policy and implement it as soon as possible.
This study was published on the world famous journal “Science” issued on Oct. 10, 2014.
Wang Jer-Chao, the Spokesman of the MOHW, expressed that the central government and local governments have announced a series of measures to increase the birth rate, hoping to create a friendly environment that encourages young couples to have more children. He pointed out that though the results cannot be seen immediately, the government needs to continue addressing this issue.
【Liberty Times / 2014-11-11】