The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday urged the government to establish an agency to address the problem of a falling birthrate.
At a news conference in Taipei ahead of Children’s Day on Sunday, KMT Culture and Communications Committee director-general Alicia Wang (王育敏) said that the number of births in the nation hit a record low of 165,249 last year, citing government statistics.
The low number is “a very serious problem ... that everyone should pay attention to” as it might cause a “national security crisis,” Wang said.
The decline “has a lot to do with the president’s attitude,” she said.
When the number of births reached a low of 166,886 in 2010, then-president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) treated it as a national security crisis, Wang said.
Ma addressed the problem and promoted many policies to tackle it, she said, adding that the number of births rose to 196,627 in 2011 and 229,481 in 2012.
Since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in 2016, the number of births has continued to decline, Wang said, citing statistics showing 208,440 births in 2016, 193,844 in 2017, 181,601 in 2018 and 177,767 in 2019.
The number of births might fall below 150,000 this year, said James Hsueh (薛承泰), a sociology professor at National Taiwan University who served as a minister without portfolio in Ma’s administration.
The birthrate is declining, while the population is aging, Hsueh said.
In 2000, people older than 65 made up about 8.6 percent of the nation’s population, and that figure rose to 16.1 percent last year, he said, adding that the rate could climb to more than 30 percent in 2040.
The government should set up an agency to address the problem as soon as possible, the KMT said in a statement.
It should also respond to calls from children advocacy groups and establish an agency dedicated to children’s cybersecurity, the KMT said.
Separately yesterday, the KMT-affiliated National Policy Foundation called on the government to extend compulsory education for five-year-olds.
Under the Primary and Junior High School Act (國民教育法), children aged six to 15 receive compulsory primary and junior-high school education.
The government’s policy on preschool education is primarily focused on tuition subsidies, creating quasi-public kindergartens, it said.
The government should also guarantee the quality of preschool education to protect the rights of parents and children, the foundation said.
A survey of young Taiwanese showed that only 36.5 percent of men and 19.6 percent of women believe marriage is important, a trend that academics say is key to the nation’s low birthrate. Yang Wen-shan (楊文山), an adjunct research fellow at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Sociology, yesterday announced the 12th round of results from a longitudinal survey of attitudes among young Taiwanese toward markers of adulthood. While few of the respondents, who were aged 28 to 32 when surveyed in 2017, found marriage to be important, 95.8 percent believed that being responsible for oneself should take precedence, data showed. Economic independence came in
SHRINKING FEMALE POPULATION: Last year, 107.74 boys were born for every 100 girls in Taiwan, which is a greater gender imbalance than in Japan and South Korea The Ministry of the Interior recorded 9,601 births in January, the first time the nation has produced fewer than 10,000 newborns in a single month, while different indicators showed that Taiwan might also be facing a population with increasingly fewer births, women and marriages. It comes after the ministry reported a record low 165,249 births last year, which was lower than the 173,156 deaths recorded last year. The nation experienced negative population growth for the first time last year, ministry data found. The number of births in January also dropped from a year earlier, when there were 12,510 births. In February, there were
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