by Steven Ertelt
June 5, 2006
Taipei, Taiwan (LifeNews.com) — Unlike its communist neighbor China, Taiwan faces a severe problem of underpopulation. Abortions are on the rise there, the nation recently experienced its lowest birth rate ever and the country faces the economic and social problems that will accompany a likely zero population growth in 15 years.
The Taiwan Ministry of Interior yesterday warned that the Asian nation could face a zero population growth by 2021. In 2005, Taiwan’s population only increased by 0.91 percent — the lowest birth rate ever recorded there.
Already, 10 percent of the nation’s population is over 65 and with fewer Taiwanese babies born to enter the workplace and support them, the country could face problems supporting its elderly residents.
Wu Yu-chen, who represents a civic group for older residents, told the Taiwan News that a country is considered "aging" if just 7 percent of its population is over 65. Taiwan has had a higher percentage since 1993.
The government agency also reported that from January to April of this year, only 65,400 babies were born.
According to a Taiwan News report, even foreign-born mothers are having fewer children. That’s a concern because they normally make up for the fewer children that native Taiwanese women have. Births to foreign women are down 10 percent compared to previous years.
The underpopuolation problem is exacerbated by legalized abortion.
The Taiwan Department of Health released new statistics showing almost 20 percent of women between 20 and 44 years of age have had abortions and the number of abortions is on the rise.
Those women who are deciding to have babies are doing so later in life as the average age of first-time mothers in Taiwan has increased to 28.8.
The Taiwan News reports that women are having babies later in life because of financial concerns.
Council of Economic Planning and Development Chairman Hu Sheng-cheng says the government should encourage the birth of more babies.