Dropping birth rate impacts Taiwan

A view of Taipei 101. (Photo: VCG)

TAIPEI, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- The population of Taiwan reduced for the first time in the first six months of this year, 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 this year while only 86,961 infants were born.

Local media said if this trend continues in the second half of this year, 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 labor force will completely disappear in 2027, posing a major threat to its economic competitiveness.

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

Meanwhile, the aging population has pushed up the number of cases involving real estate inheritance. Figures from the interior authorities showed the number of properties inherited or transferred in Taiwan reached a record high of 28,100 in the first half of this year.

The reduced birth rate has also affected schools. Education authorities in Taipei said they have 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.

In the meantime, having fewer children has allowed parents to better prepare for their future. According to the Taipei Fubon Bank, nearly 250,000 bank accounts have been opened for children, with an average amount of 380,000 new Taiwan dollars (about $12,100) for each account. Over 30 percent of the account holders are children under five years old.