The number of couples divorced last month has hit a record high of 6,375. This is the highest amount of divorces in one month since the ROC government started running Taiwan's administration 58 years ago, according to statistics released by the Ministry of the Interior yesterday.
The average number of couples getting divorced monthly was about 4,500 in 2000, and from March last year more than 5,000 couples broke up every month.
In July, the monthly number of divorces for the first time reached 6,000, which was a new record.
The divorce rate last year in Taiwan was 2.73 out of 1,000 couples, or a total of 61,213 couples, compared to 38,986 couples in 1997 and 29,205 couples in 1992, while there were only 5,619 divorces a year 30 years ago.
The number of divorces from January to July last year has surpassed the number in the same period this year by 2,000, said Wang Shi-mei (
"Social and economic factors all contribute to the high divorce rate, and it's hard to give a simple explanation for the increase," she said.
The nation's divorce rate has been soaring because Taiwan is becoming more and more westernized, a ministry official said.
"The trend of westernization has made women in Taiwan more aware of their rights and status in the family. They have become more autonomous and independent, and that has changed their expectations of marriage," said Chen Ching-hong (
"Now more and more families choose to live the `Double Income, No Kids' way, or have less children, which is also why women have become more willing to divorce their spouses," Chen said.
The shrinking economy in recent years has stirred up more quarrels and fights in families, which also contribute a lot to a higher divorce rate, Chen said.
But some government officials and experts think the increase in cross-cultural marriages could be the most crucial contributing factor to the soaring divorce rate.
The ministry's statistics gave no further details on the nationalities of divorced couples.
According to statistics released by the Directorate General of Budget Accounting and Statistics last month, more than 240,000 women -- mostly from China and Vietnam -- married Taiwanese men, and one in four newly married couples is cross-cultural.
Different languages as well as cultural and ideological differences could cause problems in these marriages, an official said.
In a poll conducted by the Eden Social Welfare Foundation, 52 percent of the foreign brides interviewed placed "poor communication with husband" at the top of their list of problems.
"Taiwanese husbands are more complicated than their southeastern brides," said Tran Thuy-tien, a Vietnamese woman who married a Taiwanese man.
"Most Vietnamese women have no freedom and status in Taiwanese homes, and husbands even prohibit wives to go out because they fear their sweethearts meet bad men."
"Since 1997, more and more foreign females get married and immigrate to Taiwan," said Wu Wei-ting (
"And in the last three or four years, problems in cross-national marriages started to surface. These problems may need further research to clarify," she said.
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