Doctors report lower birthrate in first months of 2017

Doctors are reporting that the birthrate in Taiwan fell in the early months of the year. That's according to Huang Ming-chao, head of the Taiwan Association of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Huang says that from January to May, only March saw the number of new births break 15,000. Every month during this period saw the number of births drop by 1,000 to 2,000 on average from the same month in 2016.

The flagging birthrate reflects an ongoing demographic trend that has seen Taiwan's population begin to age rapidly. There are predictions that there may be only 180,000 births in the country this year. If so, that would be the second-lowest birthrate in the past decade.

Huang said a feritility rate of 2.1 is needed for a society to maintain its population level. However, he said Taiwan is struggling to keep its fertility at 1, putting it behind the 1.4-1.5 common in many developed countries. Huang said the government must do more to help turn the situation around.

The head of the government's birthrate taskforce, Lin Tzou-yien, responded to the association's figures. Lin suggested improvements to public childcare, higher salaries for young people, and discounts on public housing for parents.

Source: Radio Taiwan International