When storks stay away: Taiwan's baby crisis

No end in sight to Taiwan's ageing problem; population fell for the first time in 2020

Taiwan and South Korea are facing a baby crisis as fertility rates hit historic lows and population numbers plunged for the first time last year. Straits Times correspondents look at why the storks are not visiting and what the governments are doing about it.

Ms Yen Tzu-hsin with her husband Jerry Kao and their children - five-year-old Emma and two-year-old Eddie.
Ms Yen Tzu-hsin with her husband Jerry Kao and their children - five-year-old Emma and two-year-old Eddie.PHOTO: COURTESY OF YEN TZU-HSIN

TAIPEI - Taiwan's population fell for the first time on record last year, as it continues its inexorable march towards an ageing society. The island recorded 165,249 births and 173,156 deaths last year, the Interior Ministry said last month.

The government, which has long tried to arrest the problem, has raised childcare subsidies in the hope of getting young couples to have more children, but Taiwanese say the incentives are insufficient.

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