[Picture used without permission from ANS]
Taiwan’s National Development Council (NDC) today issued a report that predicts the nation’s population will begin to decline in 2022, three years earlier than previous estimates, and NDC Minister Chen Mei-ling said that Taiwan will be a multi-ethnic country in the future.
The NDC functions as the policy planning agency of the Executive Yuan, and releases population estimates every two years. The previous report, released in 2016, estimated that Taiwan’s population will begin to decline in 2025.
However, the 2016 model was based on a predicted fertility rate of 1.2, while the actual figures for 2016 and 2017 fell to 1.17, and 1.13 respectively. The revised population estimate released today suggests that the population of Taiwan will peak at 23.61 million in 2021, then begin to decline the following year.
According to population statistics cited in the report, by 2026, 20% of the population will be over 65 years old, and in the following year there will be an insufficient working-age population. By 2034, one out of two people will be over 50.
If current population trends continue, by 2065, the population of Taiwan will fall to between 16 million and 18.8 million and the birthrate will be half what it is today due to the decreased number of women of childbearing age.
The report also suggests that Taiwan will become a super-aged society that will surpass aging rates in Europe, America, and Japan within eight years.
Minister Chen said that the report on population estimates is an early warning. It is not merely academic research, but the basis for government policy planning.
According to statements made by the minister, policy adjustments will be seen in the future that not only provide financial incentives for giving birth, but will reduce the economic burden of young couples to raise children, and make them more willing to do so.
According to Chen’s statements, Premier William Lai (賴清德) has set a target to increase the fertility rate to 1.25 by 2022 and 1.4 by 2030, aiming at a target population level that should not fall below 20 million.
Chen also emphasized that immigration is also an important part of the policy framework. In order to maintain the human resources required for the nation’s economic development, the government is actively promoting the recruitment of foreign professionals. The NDC is advising the government on the new economic immigration law, and hoping develop Taiwan into a more immigrant-friendly country.
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