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Taiwan's Population Growth to be Negative by 2022

Sep 01, 2014 | By CENS

Population growth in Taiwan is forecast to decline by 2022, four years earlier than expected, with  65-and-older people to make up over 40% of the total population by 2060, exceeding the corresponding percentages in Japan, South Korea, the United States and Europe, according to a  report recently released by Taiwan's National Development Council (NDC).

NDC issues population projections for the island biennially to analyze demographic changes in Taiwan, with the recent report showing the island's population to peak some 23.561 million by 2021 but drop to 23.559 million by 2022, with gradual declines to continue.

Taiwan's elderly accounts for 12% of the total, lower than that of Japan, South Korea and some Western nations, with the rapidly shrinking birth rate in recent years helping to boost the seniors-to-youths ratio.

Taiwan's 65-and-older seniors is predicted to rise to 14.6% by 2018 and continue to grow to 20.1% by 2025, and then 24.1% by 2030 to exceed that of the U.S. and some countries in Europe. Amazingly such percentage is expected to surge to 40.6% by 2060 to clearly exceed that of the U.S., Japan, S. Korea and most countries in Europe.

A 65-and-older person in Taiwan is supported by an average of 6.2 persons aged 15-64, whose number dwindles due to declining birth rate, projected to  fall to nearly 1% in future. So such per-elderly support group will probably decrease to 3.4 by 2015 and further drop to 1.2 by 2060, according to NDC's report.

People aged 15-64 or so-called working population in Taiwan account for 70%-80% of the total population, which is projected to drop to 60% by 2040 and further to 50% by 2060.

Other intriguing aspects of such projections and typically avoided in official reports is the relatively high proportion of birth defects in Taiwan, inevitable and long-term fallout of losing China as homeland around 1945 that deprives Taiwan of natural gestation, whose socio-economic impacts and the island's lack of natural resources and sufficient habitable land to comfortably sustain rapidly growing population have lit the fuse to declining population growth decades ago. (JL)




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