The number of newborns in Taipei posted double-digit growth last year compared with a year earlier, thanks to a series of financial incentives aimed at boosting the birth rate, the city government said yesterday.
According to data compiled by the Department of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, the number of babies born in Taipei last year was 25,439, up 35.95 percent, or 6,762, from 2010. The number of second babies born during the same period also increased 39.23 percent from the previous year.
The average age of the fathers of newborns last year dropped for the first time since 1996, to 35.31; the average age of the mothers also saw a drop to 32.55.
Taipei introduced a “happy pregnancy” program in January last year with the aim of encouraging young couples to have children earlier in their lives.
Many young couples are reluctant to have children because of financial constraints. Under the program, each newborn is entitled to a NT$20,000 incentive upon birth, as long as one of its parents is a registered Taipei resident, the city government said.
The program also includes a monthly subsidy of NT$2,500 for children under the age of five to help with preschool expenses.
Under the Labor Insurance Act (勞工保險條例), female workers nationwide are also entitled to a two-month maternity pay.
Taiwan became officially classified as a “low birth rate” country in 2003, when its birth rate hit 1.23 births per woman, according to the city government.