Immigrants married to Taiwanese nationals are mostly happy with life in Taiwan, even though their average household income is less than half the national average, to a census released yesterday by the Ministry of the Interior showed.
A total of 498,368 foreign-born spouses, including naturalized immigrants and foreign nationals, call Taiwan home. At 67.6 percent, more than two-thirds come from China, Hong Kong or Macau; another 28.1 percent are from Southeast Asia, predominantly Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Cambodia, according to ministry statistics.
In the once-in-five years census of foreign-born spouses, 92.9 percent of respondents described life in their adoptive country as “happy” (幸福), and 87 percent said they do not have trouble communicating with their Taiwanese family members despite cultural and linguistic barriers.
The survey found that the average monthly household income in families with new immigrants was NT$46,173, less than half the national average of NT$98,073.
Among the offspring of immigrants, the ministry found that 40.3 percent of children interviewed for the census cannot speak their foreign-born parents’ native language, despite a government push to promote “mother language” learning.
The statistics also showed that the largest single group of immigrants by marriage is women from China, Hong Kong or Macau, at 315,293 people or 63.3 percent. The next biggest group is women from Vietnam, at 90,503.
For men, the largest single group also came from China, Hong Kong or Macau at 21,735, with men from Thailand taking a distant second place at 2,661.
The survey part of the census was conducted during visits to immigrants between September and December 2013, yielding 13,688 valid samples. Further samples were collected during eight forums for foreign-born spouses and two expert forums in the middle of last year.
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