Mon, Jan 11, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Pingtung population falls for 14th consecutive year

By Hou Cheng-hsu and Jake Chung  /  Reporter, with staff writer

Pingtung County’s population declined by 6,600 people last year, marking 14 consecutive years of dwindling population.

The latest data compiled by the Ministry of the Interior gave Pingtung County’s total population as 841,253, consisting of 430,000 male residents and 410,000 female residents.

A total of 4,700 couples married in the county last year, while 1,900 couples filed for divorce, the data showed.

The number of people above the age of 65 exceeded 121,000, corresponding to 14.5 percent of the county’s total population, the ministry data show.

There were 5,266 births and 8,114 deaths in the county last year, while 3,816 people moved out of Pingtung.

Kaohsiung received the majority of the people moving out of Pingtung, with five other cities accounting for the rest, the Pingtung County Government said, adding that the data show females are more inclined to move away from the area than males.

Compared with 2014, the county lost 6,664 residents, bringing the population growth/decrease ratio to 78 per million.

The Pingtung County Government’s department of civil affairs said the county’s population, which was 460,000 in 1950, reached its peak of 913,000 residents in 1997, adding that the county’s population has been declining since 2002.

Department Director Cheng Wen-hua (鄭文華) said the county has been affected by the restructuring of Kaohsiung into a special municipality and the nationwide decline in birth rates.

Low birth rates and county residents moving to other cities are problems that many counties are facing and the local governments are not equipped to handle the issue, Cheng said.

The central government should make solving the problem a priority, Cheng said, adding that aside from improving the overall economy, the central government should not be focusing its resources on special municipalities.

Only by giving rural counties and townships more resources can they slowly reverse the emigration problem, Cheng said.

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