Taiwan’s population falls for first time on record

Students arriving in Taiwan will have to complete two weeks of quarantine. Photo: Reuters. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

TAIPEI, Jan 8, 2021, CNA. Taiwan’s population fell for the first time on record in 2020, as it continued to struggle with a low birth rate and an aging population, newly released statistics showed, Focus Taiwan reported.

Overall, Taiwan’s population stood at 23,561,236 at the end of 2020, down 0.18 percent, or 41,885 people, from the previous year, according to new statistics published by the Department of Household Registration.

Among the factors causing the population drop was a sharp decline in fertility, with the year’s total of 165,249 births coming out 7.04 percent (12,518 births) lower than the previous year.

The number of deaths also dropped slightly, falling by 1.78 percent (3,140 deaths) to 173,156 deaths, according to the statistics.

In total, the number of deaths exceeded the number of births by 7,907, contributing to the overall population decline, while the rest of the fall is attributable to negative net migration.

The department said Taiwan’s total deaths exceeded total births from January to September, while births exceeded deaths from October to December.

The low birth rate is roughly in line with projections made by the National Development Council last year.

According to a report it released in August 2020, Taiwan began to experience negative population growth in January last year after peaking at 23.6 million in 2019.

Taiwan will become a super-aged society by 2025, meaning that one in five citizens will be over the age of 65, mainly due to the falling birth rate and rapidly aging population, the report said.

(By Yu Hsiang and Matthew Mazzetta)

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