Thu, Dec 16, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Potential parents worry about money


Quality of education and economics are key considerations for people considering having children, according to a survey released yesterday.

According to a report in a local Chinese-language newspaper, the Bureau of Health Promotion (BHP) under the Department of Health yesterday published a survey of attitudes toward marriage and children of people between the ages of 20 and 39.

According to the results, more than 60 percent of respondents intend to marry in the future, while 51 percent of couples with one child do not intend to have a second child because they feel they cannot shoulder the economic burden. Forty percent of respondents feel that the educational system would have to be improved and educational fees cut before they would consider having children.

The report further said that the survey showed that families living in cities or families with a household income of NT$80,000 or less were more likely to cite economic reasons for not having a second child, and that women were more likely than men to say that the reason was high education costs.

The BHP suggested that the ideal age for giving birth to a first child was 30 years or younger, and that a second child should ideally be had before the age of 35, the report said.

Taiwan has the world's second lowest birth rate, the report quoted Sun Teh-hsiung (孫德雄), director of Maternal and Child Health Association (婦幼衛生協會), as saying yesterday.

Previously, there were nine young people per one elderly person in Taiwan, he said, but if birth rates remain at current levels, the rate will be 2.3 young people per one elderly person by 2041.

The report also quoted the BHP as saying that 400,000 children were born in Taiwan in 1955, while only 227,000 were born last year, a drop of almost 45 percent.

The report further stated that unmarried men not intending to marry cited insufficient economic means (39 percent), enjoyment of the single life or preferring independence (21 percent), not having met the right partner (13 percent), and fear of problems (4 percent) as the main reasons.

For women, the reasons given were enjoyment of a single life or preferring independence (26 percent), insufficient economic means (16 percent), and fear of problems (14 percent).

The survey questioned 2,546 people aged between 20 and 39.

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