Taiwan has officially become an “aged society,” as more than 14 percent of its population is older than 65, while estimates show that the nation could become a “hyper-aged society” within eight years, the Ministry of the Interior said.
Chiayi, Yunlin and Nantou counties are the three “oldest” counties and cities, while Lienchiang County, Hsinchu City and Taoyuan are the three “youngest” counties and cities, the ministry said.
From 1993 to March this year — within a span of 25 years — Taiwan changed from an aging society into an aged society, it said, adding that within that time frame, the number of elderly people — those aged 65 or older — grew from 1.49 million people, or 7.10 percent of the nation’s population, to 3.31 million people, or 14.05 percent.
The National Development Council estimates that within eight years, the elderly population will exceed 20 percent of the total population, the ministry said, adding that Taiwan would join the ranks of other hyper-aged societies such as Japan, South Korea, Singapore and certain European countries.
Chiayi County has the highest percentage of elderly people nationwide at 18.61 percent, the ministry said, adding that within the county, Yijhu Township (義竹) has the most elderly people at 24.73 percent, followed by Lioujiao Township (六腳) at 25.48 percent and Lucao (鹿草) at 24.99 percent.
Yunlin County is No. 2 at 17.69 percent, with Shueilin Township (水林) having the most elderly people countywide at 24.38 percent, followed by Yuanchang Township (元長) at 23.66 percent and Dongshih Township (東勢) at 21.98 percent, the ministry said.
Nantou County is No. 3 at 16.70 percent, with Jhongliao Township (中寮) having the most elderly people countywide at 22.03 percent, followed by Lugu Township (鹿谷) at 21.60 percent and Jiji Township (集集) at 21.06 percent, it said.
By contrast, the elderly populations of Lienchiang County, Taoyuan and Hsinchu City comprised only 10.73 percent, 10.96 percent and 11.64 percent respectively, it said.
Dongyin Township (東引) is the “youngest” township in Lienchiang County at 7.73 percent, followed by Lujhu District (蘆竹) in Taoyuan at 8.94 percent and Siangshan District (香山) in Hsinchu City at 10.86 percent, the ministry said.
New Taipei City’s Pingsi District (平溪), Kaohsiung’s Tianliao District (田寮), Tainan’s Zuojhen District (左鎮), Miaoli County’s Shihtan Township (獅潭) and Tainan’s Longci District (龍崎) were the five cities and townships with the highest elderly populations, it said, adding that elderly people make up 28.57 percent of the population in Pingsi, 27.84 percent in Tianliao, 27.37 percent in Zuojhen, 26.47 percent in Shihtan and 25.97 percent in Longci.
The national gender ratio (the number of men for every 100 women) dropped below 100 as of November 2013, while the gender ratio for the elderly population had dropped below 100 in September 2005, the ministry said.
As of last month, there were only 85 elderly men in the population for every 100 elderly women, the ministry said, attributing the figure to a lower life expectancy for men.
Lienchiang County, which administers Matsu, is the only county with more elderly men than women, the ministry said, adding that Chiayi, Hsinchu and Taipei were the three cities nationwide with the widest gender imbalances, at 79.48 percent, 80.31 percent and 81.12 percent respectively.
In terms of dependency, as of February last year, there were 36.32 dependents per 100 workers, while elderly dependency (18.18 dependents) exceeded youth dependency (18.14 dependents), it said.
Taipei has the highest ratio of elderly dependency with 43.52 elderly dependents per 100 workers, followed by Yunlin County at No. 2 with 41.67 and Hsinchu City at No. 3 with 40.74, it said.
Individuals of working age are defined as those aged 15 to 64, dependents are infants to those aged 14 and elderly individuals are those aged 65 and older, the ministry said.
Only Taoyuan, Taichung, Hsinchu City and Hsinchu and Lienchiang counties have a higher ratio of youth dependency, while all other cities and townships show a higher rate of elderly dependency, it added.
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