Tue, Dec 07, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Marriage figures optimistic: MOI

‘DIFFICULT PROBLEM’:Despite improvements, an official with the Ministry of the Interior accepted that declining marriage and birth rates were caused by soaring costs

Staff Writer, with CNA

Minister of the Interior Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) is convinced that the number of couples tying the knot in Taiwan next year would set a new high.

Jiang said on Sunday that next year would be a good year for marriage, given that local residents prefer to have “dragon boys” or “dragon girls” — the next Year of the Dragon falls in 2012 according to the lunar calendar.

That, coupled with the -centennial anniversary of the Republic of China, as well as a steady economic recovery, means that he “can hardly wait to see the record being broken,” Jiang said.

The Ministry of the Interior has launched a series of campaigns and activities this year to encourage people to get married and have more children, which Jiang said have borne fruit.

Jiang said that Taiwanese usually get married according to traditional customs, adding that last year was a “lonely bird year,” considered inauspicious for marriage, so that the number of couples tying the knot decreased markedly.

However, Sept. 9, for which “nine-nine” is a Chinese homonym for “everlasting,” was an auspicious day and on that day, more than 6,000 couples took their vows, setting a single-day record for the last two decades.

Oct. 10 also conveys the sense of “a perfect 10” and on that day, 2,500 couples registered their marriages, far outnumbering last year’s daily average of 300 couples.

Recent figures released by the ministry showed the number of couples tying the knot in the first 10 months of this year reached 112,020, an increase of almost 20,000 from the same period of last year.

Although the ministry estimates that the number of couples getting married could reach more than 140,000 this year, an increase of 20 percent from last year, it will still lag far behind the 170,000 couples annually prior to 2003.

A ministry official said that in addition to the custom factor, the drop in the marriage rate was -related to the younger generation’s ideas about the institution, while economic factors are also a major reason.

Because of the soaring cost of housing and declining wages, young people are more reluctant to tie the knot, because they simply cannot afford houses, spouses or children, the official said.

The official said the ministry has put a lot of effort into encouraging marriage and childbirth, but Taiwan’s marriage rate is still slipping, while its birthrate is among the lowest in the world.

“It is indeed a difficult problem to solve,” he said.

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