Migration harms regional development, experts say

By Jason Pan  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Sun, Jan 20, 2013 - Page 3

Taiwan is experiencing exacerbated migration from rural areas to its big cities, data released by the Ministry of the Interior yesterday showed.

The statistics showed that last year the nation’s five special municipalities — New Taipei City (新北市), Taipei City, Greater Taichung, Greater Tainan and Greater Kao- hsiung — along with Taoyuan County in the north, ranked as the top six regions for net gain from population migration, accounting for 73 percent of the increase.

In 2011, Taipei topped the list, with a migration gain of 23,052 people, likely due to financial incentives implemented by the city government at the time for families with newborn babies that year.

Last year, Taipei saw a slowdown in net migration gain with 9,339 people, likely because other cities and counties also implemented childbirth subsidies last year, the ministry said.

Over the past six years, the top six regions for net migration gains of more than 10,000 people were New Taipei City, Taoyuan County, Taichung City, Kinmen County, Hsinchu County and Hsinchu City, in that order.

Meanwhile, cities and counties with an accumulated net migration decrease of more than 10,000 people were Changhua County, Pingtung County, Chiayi County, Yunlin County, Nantou County, and Keelung City.

Citing statistics from the past six years, the ministry said that northern Taiwan has clearly seen the biggest gain in population from migration, followed by Kinmen and Matsu, while southern, central and eastern Taiwan experienced a net loss of population due to migration.

Demographic experts were quoted by local media reports as saying that the trend does not bode well for the nation’s development.

The critics were quoted as saying that the increased imbalance between the nation’s northern and southern regions should be kept in check, as too many people are concentrated in the cities and northern regions, as is too much economic activity to the detriment and deprivation of rural areas and southern regions.