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Dropping birth rate impacts Taiwan’s economy

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Taiwan on Tuesday says its population has reduced for the first time in the first six months of 2019, which may affect the island’s economic prospect and social structure.

The latest reports showed a total of 88,098 people died in Taiwan from January to June in 2019 while only 86,961 infants were born.

Local media said if this trend continues in the second half of 2019, Taiwan’s natural population growth for the year 2019 could turn negative, earlier than the previous forecast of 2020.

Local authorities said the island’s advantage of a strong labour force would completely disappear in 2027, posing a major threat to its economic competitiveness.

Experts said the situation might improve because, typically, more babies were born in the second half of each year and 2019 rate might not indicate a long-term trend.

Meanwhile, the ageing population has pushed up the number of cases involving real estate inheritance.

Figures from interior authorities showed the number of properties inherited/transferred in Taiwan reached a record high of 28,100 in the first half of 2019.

However, the reduced birth rate had also affected schools.

The education authorities in Taipei said they had been downsizing school classes to 36 students from 40 since 2013.

Starting in 2020, public senior high schools and vocational schools in the city will further cut the number of students for each class to 35.

Meanwhile, having fewer children allowed parents to better prepare for their future.

According to Taipei Fubon Bank, nearly 250,000 bank accounts were opened for children, with an average amount of 380,000 new Taiwan dollars (about $12,100) for each account.

The bank added that over 30 per cent of the account holders is children under five years old.


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