Rapidly aging society an issue of concern: minister

Staff Writer, with CNA

Sun, Dec 02, 2012 - Page 3

The population is aging rapidly and could become a “super-aged society” by 2025, Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) said yesterday.

He said that the number of elderly Taiwanese stood at 2.58 million as of the end of October, accounting for 11 percent of the total population.

The Council for Economic Planning and Development has estimated that the number of elderly people will account for 14 percent of the total population by 2018 and 20 percent by 2025.

With this rapid increase, Taiwan needs to pay attention to how it designs cities and infrastructure.

“If 14 percent of the population is of an elderly age by 2018, the design of cities and traffic policies will have to change,” he said in a speech at a forum on population issues.

The nation’s low birth rate is another issue of concern, he said.

He said that the average birth rate was only 0.895 in 2010, although it rebounded to 1.07 last year.

Lee cited Lao Song Elementary School in Taipei‘s Wanhua District (萬華) as an example, saying that the school had more than 11,000 students at its peak in 1968, but now has less than 1,000 students.

One school in Penghu County has only three students whose mothers are Taiwanese, while the remainder of students are children born to foreign or Chinese wives, he said, saying that the low birth rate, the aging population and increasing numbers of immigrants are all major issues that need to be addressed when discussing the nation’s population policy.