The number of births and marriages was higher last year than in recent years, a Ministry of the Interior official said yesterday, attributing the increase to cultural factors.
A total of 196,627 babies were born last year, which represented a three-year high and a 17.82 percent increase from the previous year, according to ministry statistics.
The figures showed a clear -departure from the declining birthrate of the past decade. In 2008, the number of births in Taiwan fell to 198,733, from 305,312 in 2000, and by 2010 had fallen to 166,886. This put Taiwan’s birthrate under 1 percent, among the lowest in the world.
However, 18,703 babies were born last month, the highest monthly tally for the year.
Ministry officials attributed the surge to a rush to have babies before the end of last year, which they said was -considered an auspicious year because it marked the 100th anniversary of the Republic of China.
Meanwhile, the number of marriages last year hit an eight-year high of 165,327, an increase of 19.1 percent from the 138,819 recorded in 2010, ministry statistics showed.
The increase in weddings can also be attributed to couples who wanted to tie the knot before the end of last year, and also to a cultural tradition of getting married just before the Lunar New Year, which starts on Jan. 23 this year, the ministry said.
Ministry officials expect the number of new births to continue to rise this year on the strength of new government measures such as a monthly subsidy for parents with children under two years of age, tax deductions for households with preschool children and a government-supervised system for the care and education of children aged two to six years old.