An expert has warned that Taiwan’s birth rate has dropped drastically since 1950. Back then, the average woman gave birth to seven children, but in 2009 the average was only 1.3 children. The male to female ratio of newborns currently stands at about 110 to 100, and for the third child in a household it is 120 boys to 100 girls. It is estimated that as many as 3,000 female fetuses were aborted during 2009.
Minister without Portfolio James Hsueh, who is also a sociology professor at National Taiwan University (NTU), said that the ratio of male to female newborns is unbalanced. As a warning, Hsueh said that Taiwan’s birth rate has been declining since 1950. Around 191,000 babies were born in 2009, but the figure for 2010 may be less than 180,000. He said that when he goes to a park during holidays, he sees more people walking their dogs than playing with their children.
Hsueh said that 20 to 30 years ago, most women gave birth when they were between 25 and 29 years old, but nowadays people tend to get married later or not all, causing women to postpone getting pregnant until they are between 30 and 34 years old. Statistics show that only 43 percent of women between 25 and 34 years old are married. The decline in the marriage rate is much more obvious than in other countries.
PHOTO: LIN CHENG-KUN, LIBERTY TIMES 照片：自由時報
Professor Chen Yu-hua of NTU said that Aboriginal men and men who only have an elementary school education are getting married later and later. In the early years after the end of World War II, Aboriginal men were getting married at around 24 years old, but now on average they wait until they are 33.4 years old to tie the knot. Men who only have an elementary school education get married three to four years later than university graduates, with financial hardship believed to be the reason.
Recent improvements in the financial status of women may be acting as a deterrent to getting married and starting a family. If the government is serious about increasing the birthrate, it should propose an efficient plan to change the attitude of young people or else the situation is only going to get worse.
Apart from the falling birth rate, the gender imbalance is also an area of concern. Hsueh said that parents’ gender preferences only emerge after the birth of their first child. If the first child happens to be a boy, then the second child’s gender is not an issue. But if the first is a girl, the second tends to be a boy. As the number of children in a family grows, the tendency becomes more and more pronounced, as parents rely on gender selection techniques and abortions, which creates a gender imbalance.
Hsueh estimated that there were 3,000 abortions of female fetuses in 2009, if the gender ratio of newborns remained unchanged. He suggested that regulations in the Genetic Health Law be revised to avoid unnecessary abortions. He also suggested lowering taxes on families with children under six years old.
(LIBERTY TIMES, TRANSLATED BY TAIJING WU)
Chinese automobile manufacturer Zotye Auto is a household name in China. The company is famous for manufacturing copies of car models by luxury international brands including Audi, Porsche and Lamborghini. After a long delay, on June 22, Zotye Auto finally released its 2019 year end financial results. The report revealed that last year, the automaker suffered losses of 11.2 billion yuan (approximately NT$46.6 billion), or an average of 30 million yuan per day. The company’s market value also shrank from 30 billion yuan to a mere 3.6 billion yuan. Even worse, because the company is unable to guarantee the authenticity,
Onions, with their sweet aroma, are a popular cooking ingredient, used in both Western and Eastern cuisines. Today, however, information is appearing online suggesting that onions should not be eaten with fish, shrimp, seaweed or honey, as these combinations cause kidney stones. But is there any truth to this? The Taiwan FactCheck Center asked dieticians and experts and confirmed that this information was false. Onion loving foodies everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief. According to information on certain social media platforms, onions should not be eaten together with fish, as the fish has a high protein content, and the oxalic
Pluto, a frigid little world inhabiting the solar system’s outer reaches, may have been born as a warmer place sheltering a subsurface ocean that still exists today, researchers said on Monday. An analysis of images of its surface taken in 2015 by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft and computer simulations of the dwarf planet’s interior led the researchers to propose a “hot start” scenario for Pluto’s formation some 4.5 billion years ago as the solar system, including Earth, took shape. “When Pluto was forming, new material would have been coming in and impacting its surface. Each impact is like an explosion that
Segway Inc. announced last week that it will end production of its iconic two-wheeled personal vehicle starting July 15. When the company launched the product nearly two decades ago, it boldly claimed that its namesake two-wheeler would revolutionize the way people move, but it only sold 140,000 units across the world. The Segway was criticized for the high price tag of US$4,950 (about NT$147,000). It was also challenging to ride, because riders must maintain a balance at a specific angle for the vehicle to move forward, and can easily be thrown off if they lose control. Several months after buying the