(7/2 Tue.) Taiwan’s Baby Bust (Host: Dan)

文章: 34
註冊時間: 週四 9月 22, 2016 8:08 pm

(7/2 Tue.) Taiwan’s Baby Bust (Host: Dan)

文章 Dan »

Taiwan’s fertility rate is at or near the bottom of the world rankings. Births last year in Taiwan sank to their lowest level in eight years and are expected to continue to drop.

Experts have now revised their projection for when Taiwan’s population will start shrinking. Some now predict this will happen as early as 2021.

This problem portends a demographic time bomb that will put increasing strains on Taiwan’s pension and health care systems, hurt economic growth and reduce tax revenues. Taiwan could become a super-aged society (like Japan already is) in 2026, and at least one expert predicts Taiwan will have the dubious distinction of being the “oldest” country in the world by 2060. Many would argue that these trends imperil Taiwan’s very future.

So why are Taiwanese people having so few children?

We’ll talk about the reasons for this situation in Session I. In Session II, we’ll discuss what you think Taiwan should do about it.

For some of the questions, I offer possible answers—but you needn’t limit yourselves to these.

Questions for Discussion:

Session I:

1. Why do you think Taiwanese are deciding to have so few children?:

a. It’s too expensive to raise children, especially on the low salaries many Taiwanese earn.
b. It’s difficult to find a suitable mate for marriage.
c. Housing costs are too high--where would parents put the kids?
d. Taiwanese couples need better mood music.
e. All of the above.

2. Fewer Taiwanese are getting married, and marriage rates are highly correlated with birth rates in Taiwan. Why do you think fewer Taiwanese are tying the knot?

3. I hear many Taiwanese express pessimism about the future of the country. Do you believe this plays a role in the low birth rate?

4. In 2010, Taiwan reportedly had the lowest birth rate in its history. That just happened to be the last year of the Tiger on the Chinese zodiac, which is considered an “inauspicious” year for having children by superstitious parents. The next year of the Tiger will occur in 2022. Do you expect another record low birth rate that year?

a. No, Taiwanese are less likely to believe in these superstitions today. Besides, the low birth rate in 2010 was caused by the global financial crisis in the late 2000s.
b. Yes, most families still plan births with an eye on the Chinese zodiac.
c. Yes, but there is nothing superstitious about it—would you invite a “Tiger” to your wedding?

Session II:

1. What should the Taiwanese government do to encourage people to have more children?

a. Offer more cash “baby bonuses” and subsidies for day-care and other childcare expenses.
b. Loosen restrictions on immigration, especially from Southeast Asia, since immigrants from poorer countries tend to have more children.
c. Allow single women to have the full range of fertility treatments, including IVF.
d. Give same-sex couples the same rights to adopt children as opposite-sex couples enjoy.
e. Nothing—Taiwan already has too many people.

2. How should Taiwan deal with the acute labor shortages that will almost certainly result from its low birth rate?

a. Make it easier for foreigners to get work visas and residency certificates to work in Taiwan.
b. Encourage more senior citizens to come out of retirement.
c. Build more robots.
d. All of the above.

3. How should Taiwan encourage more people to get married?

a. Hold more speed-dating events and subsidize matchmaking services.
b. Pressure employers to reduce working hours for singles and offer housing subsidies to newlywed couples. (In fact, the Taiwanese government announced some subsidies to encourage marriage and childbearing last week).
c. Allow people to get married to robots.
e. All of the above, including allowing marriage to robots, as long as the robots have the right to sue for divorce, if necessary.

4. Offering citizenship or permanent residency to more foreigners, including Southeast Asians, could do much to solve Taiwan’s challenges of low birth rates and expected labor shortages, but would come with some costs. Do you support this idea? Why or why not?

Reading Materials:

Taiwan's fertility rate lowest in the world: report

Taiwan's birthrate plunges to an 8-year low in 2018

Taiwan’s population could start shrinking in four years
https://qz.com/1375403/taiwans-populati ... g-by-2022/

Taiwan's Population Will Decline By 2021: Why That's Bad News For Its Tech-Led Economy
https://www.forbes.com/sites/ralphjenni ... a56c895792

Marriages in Taipei drop significantly, reaching an 8 year low in 2017

How the Chinese Zodiac Affects National Birth Rates
https://priceonomics.com/how-the-chines ... nal-birth/

Taiwan will be a super-aged society by 2026

Expat Wants Single Women in Taiwan to Have Right to IVF

How Taiwan Boosted Fertility

6:50~ 7:00pm Greetings & Free Talk / Ordering Beverage or Meal / Getting Newcomer’s Information
7:00 ~ 7:20pm Opening Remarks / Newcomer’s Self-introduction / Grouping
(Session I)
7:20 ~ 8:00pm Discussion Session (40 mins)
8:00 ~ 8:20pm Summarization (20 mins)
8:20 ~ 8:30pm Regrouping / Instruction Giving / Taking a 10 Minutes Break (Intermission)
(Session II)
8:30 ~ 9:10pm Discussion Session (40 mins)
9:10 ~ 9:30pm Summarization / Concluding Remarks / Announcements (20 mins)
聚會時間:請準時 7:00 pm 到 ~ 約 9:30 pm 左右結束
地址、電話:台北市濟南路三段25號 地圖 (02) 2740-2350
捷運站:板南線 忠孝新生站 3 號出口
走法:出忠孝新生站 3 號出口後,沿著巷子(忠孝東路三段10巷)走約 2 分鐘,到了濟南路口,左轉走約 2 分鐘即可看到。
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最後由 Dan 於 週二 7月 02, 2019 3:26 pm 編輯,總共編輯了 2 次。
Iris Wu
YOYO member
文章: 739
註冊時間: 週二 5月 20, 2014 4:33 pm

Re: (7/2 Tue.) Taiwan’s Baby Bust (Host: Dan)

文章 Iris Wu »

Noticeably, the decline in fertility rate is a global trend, but the issue in some regions are more serious than in others.

What causes people to have fewer children? I am thinking we can easily name a few based on these two categories:
1) The need for labor intensive jobs is declining because of industrialization and technology improvement.
2) People would prefer to have their own space rather than make compromises with others, if they have choices.
Technology advancement frees our body and mind, so we realize that it’s not easy to "live happily with anyone forever", and hence more people hesitate to walk down the aisle!

Besides, human beings are like terminators of the earth, aren’t we? Don’t you agree that having fewer people in the world may save the planet? :)
文章: 34
註冊時間: 週四 9月 22, 2016 8:08 pm

Re: (7/2 Tue.) Taiwan’s Baby Bust (Host: Dan)

文章 Dan »

Interesting comments, Iris. But just to clarify, when you say “technology advancement frees our body and mind” and makes it less likely for people to get married, are you also saying some people would prefer to marry robots? :)

Yes, you are right, fertility rates are dropping overall globally, but it varies widely by country. And Taiwan is tied at the bottom of the global list, as this article shows: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-46118103 (See table below).

The article, titled “Remarkable decline in fertility rates,” also warns of the “profound consequences for societies with more grandparents than grandchildren.”

Sure, the very low fertility rate could help the environment and reduce the crowds in Taiwan (and also save grandparents on red envelope money), but then who would clog the aisles in Costco on the weekends or nearly run me over with their cars and motor scooters when I’m crossing the street during rush hour? :wink: (Well, there are other consequences from the low birth trends in Taiwan to discuss, too. See you tomorrow.)