Taiwan’s population likely to drop after 23.6m peak in 2020

23, Nov. 2019

TAIPEI, NNA – Taiwan’s population is likely to decline after reaching a peak of 23.59 million next year, government figures indicate, a trend that could ultimately threaten the export-reliant island’s productivity.

Taiwan interior ministry statistics from October show 147,151 deaths in the January-October period of this year and just 146,164 births, and the government’s National Development Council says Taiwan’s population will start declining in 2020 with an estimated 181,000 deaths and 178,000 births.

Population growth due to immigration, including migrant workers and spouses of Taiwanese citizens, also slipped from 1.5 percent growth in 2009 to 0.4 percent last year, according to the Ministry of Interior.

The government has launched incentives such as childcare subsidies over the five-plus years to encourage more births, as many Taiwanese report that raising children costs too much.

A long-term population decline would threaten workplace productivity and, ultimately, Taiwan’s economic growth, economists have said. Around Asia, Japan, South Korea and Singapore also face low birth rates.

But whether Taiwan’s population actually starts shrinking remains to be seen, local media reports say, citing the National Development Council.

The number of deaths usually surpasses births in the first half of each year, the National Development Council was quoted by the reports as saying, citing a trend over the past half-decade.