The average salaries of workers in Taiwan are back where they were 16 years ago, which is taking a toll on people’s desire to have children. Over the past 20 years, the annual number of births in Greater Kaohsiung has gone from a high of 37,932 to a low of 18,684. This perceivable difference of nearly 20,000 babies a year, signaling an aging population, is becoming more apparent as schools continuously cut classes, hitting surplus teachers the hardest.
The Greater Kaohsiung Education Bureau says that demographic changes have been taken into account for estimates of how many elementary school classes there will be over the next five years. The worst year will be the 2017 academic year, with an accumulated reduction of 564 classes. After that the number of classes for the 2019 academic year being cut will gradually go down to 497. Strategies to deal with this issue are currently being formulated, the bureau says.
There are 210 fewer elementary school classes this year for the 2014 academic year. The school with the largest reduction in classes only has four classes left. As many as 258 teachers are retiring in August, however, leaving a surplus of 22 elementary school teachers. Fifty-six junior high school classes will be cut. The school with the biggest reductions will be cutting eight classes. After 132 junior high teachers retire in August, there will only be a surplus of four teachers.
Statistical data from the Ministry of the Interior show that there were 36,907 births in Kaohsiung in 1994. The following year that number increased to 37,932. The first time that births dropped below 30,000 to 29,068 was in 2001. Births in 2010 dropped below 20,000 to 18,684 and then went back up above 20,000 the following year.
1. surplus adj.
多餘的；過剩的 (duo1 yu2 de5; guo4 sheng4 de5)
例: The surplus grain was placed in storage for the winter.
2. demographic adj.
人口統計學的 (ren2 kou3 tong3 ji4 xue2 de5)
例: The demographic makeup of the school shows that ethnic minorities have become the majority.
3. formulate v.
規劃；想出 (gui1 hua4; xiang3 chu1)
例: Let’s formulate a plan to tackle this problem.
This means that in nearly two decades the highest number of births was in 1995 with 37,932, while the lowest number of births occurred in 2010 with only 18,684 — a difference of 19,248 people.
It is also interesting to note that when analyzing births from a Chinese zodiac perspective, Taiwanese truly love having children in the Year of the Dragon — 30,876 children were born during the Year of the Tiger in 1998, 32,228 during the Year of the Rabbit in 1999, while the figure rose sharply to 35,427 in 2000 during the Year of the Dragon.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)