Tue, Jul 10, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Birthrate fires up as Year of the Dragon proves very popular

HOT DATE:The Chinese zodiac sign, regarded by many as auspicious, prompts a double digit growth in the number of newborns, statistics show

Staff writer, with CNA

The number of newborns reached 107,508 in the first six months of the year, an increase of 17.29 percent from the same period last year, according to the latest statistics released by the Ministry of the Interior.

Moreover, 19,482 babies were born last month, up by 22.79 percent from the same month last year, the ministry said, adding that this was the highest number of babies born in a single month since March 2009, when 20,773 babies were born.

Based on the statistics, the ministry projected that Taiwan’s crude birthrate would hit 9.4 per 1,000 this year, up from 8.55 last year and 7.19 in 2010.

Thanks to tradition and government incentive programs aimed at encouraging people to have children, the number of newborns increased steadily in the first half year, ministry officials said, referring to a tendency to give birth this year because it is the Year of the Dragon, an auspicious year according to traditional beliefs.

Ministry statistics also showed that New Taipei City (新北市) recorded the highest number of babies born in the first six months of the year at 18,999, followed by 13,743 in Taipei City and 13,333 in Greater Taichung. The highest birthrate for the first six months was recorded in Hsinchu City at 13.77 per 1,000, followed by 13.5 in Lianjiang County and 12.97 in Kinmen County.

Alarmed by signs that Taiwan is becoming an ageing society, and the nation having the world’s lowest birth rate in 2010, the government has been taking measures to encourage people to start families.

This year, the ministry launched a nationwide program to encourage families to have more children by offering subsidies and assistance to families with children under the age of five.

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