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Population Statistics

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Population Statistics

Postby Omniloquacious » 04 Jul 2012, 09:52

Those teaching kids in Taiwan, or planning to do so, often express concern about the diminishing number of school-age kids here, and hence the falling demand for teachers. I was just looking at the government’s official population statistics, and they put this into very stark perspective. Here are a few of the numbers:

The population aged under 15 has fallen from roughly 5.5 million in 1990 to 4.7 million in 2000 to 3.624 million in 2010 and to 3.502 million last year. That’s a drop of 2 million in 21 years, and a drop of 122,000 last year alone. Those numbers represent a substantial lessening of demand for teachers in both the formal school and cram school systems.

Over the same period, the population of under fives fell relatively slowly from a bit over 1.6 million in 1990 to a bit under 1.5 million in 2000, plunged very sharply to just 964,000 in 2010 (an extraordinary drop in just a decade), but then fell by a mere 7,000 to 957,000 last year.
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Re: Population Statistics

Postby creztor » 04 Jul 2012, 10:11

Government, like many countries, tried to stimulate "growth" by giving people incentives for having children. That plus the year of the dragon will temporarily offset the decrease in the number of births and aging population, but it won't affect anything over the long term. I still don't know how parents here manage to raise children when their combined income must be around 50k - 60k a month with both parents working, at least that what I think most people would be earning. Things are already terrible here in Kaohsiung and trying to find enough hours at cram schools, so I hate to think of what it will be like in a couple of years from now. Taiwan the Titanic.
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Re: Population Statistics

Postby tomthorne » 04 Jul 2012, 10:29

They are incredible figures. The under fives in particular. The area I'm living is growing and is full of young families, so there are still loads of ankle biters around. It must be in the countryside where there are no children.

You'd think that there would be a major panic in a society where early retirement is the norm. Who's going to pay for the oldies?
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Re: Population Statistics

Postby tomthorne » 04 Jul 2012, 10:36

creztor wrote: I still don't know how parents here manage to raise children when their combined income must be around 50k - 60k a month with both parents working, at least that what I think most people would be earning.


I have a Taiwanese mate who is on comparatively good money, 60k, and I have no idea how he manages to get by with two kids. His wife has a job for a further 25k. However, they send both kids to a private bilingual kindy which costs 30k. His mortgage is 25k, so their combined income is immediately down to 30k a month. Subtract bills, car loan, groceries etc and he clearly can't be saving each month. Raising kids is really expensive and Taiwan is not a child-friendly place, so I can only see the numbers going in one direction.
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Re: Population Statistics

Postby GuyInTaiwan » 04 Jul 2012, 11:33

I think the worst population decline is probably not in the countryside per se, but actually in the city. Numbers are clearly falling here in Taidong County (I've written before about the state of schools around me), yet many of my students (particularly the aboriginal students) come from families with at least three children, and two child families seems to be about the norm here, even amongst the Han families. It's relatively easy to raise a family here in terms of the cost of living (even with lower salaries). It's just that the kids don't stay in the countryside because there are no opportunities for them here. They all end up moving to big cities, and I suspect it is those people (as well as others) not having kids because they can't afford them. Maybe if they stayed in the countryside, they would have children, though it would beg the question of how they would support them. Anyway, there must be huge swathes of the major cities that simply don't have kids. Another factor is probably the age at which people have children. Many people don't have children until well into their thirties. This effectively means that over the course of sixty or seventy years, an entire generation simply doesn't get born. That alone must account for a fair part of the population decline.

At some point, the demographic situation in Taiwan is going to really hit a crisis point, and I believe that point can't be too far away, perhaps ten to twenty years at most. Certainly where I am, it's about to hit in a big way. At one of the elementary schools near me, this year's first grade had only three students. At some point, they will have to close that school. One of the big problems with that in Taidong County is that, it seems like in the majority of cases, the middle class people (who can really afford kids) here have government jobs. Such people will simply disappear, hastening the decline. This will have flow on effects as these people will not exist to spend money in the local economy, so kids who might have taken over their parents' shops will also be forced to leave.

Also, it is amazing how much of a role the Chinese zodiac plays in this. This year's incoming seventh grade were born in the year of the dragon and because there are so many, we may actually have one additional seventh grade class this year. However, this is only a temporary stem of the flow and the long term trends do not look good.
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Re: Population Statistics

Postby GuyInTaiwan » 04 Jul 2012, 11:42

tomthorne wrote:
creztor wrote: I still don't know how parents here manage to raise children when their combined income must be around 50k - 60k a month with both parents working, at least that what I think most people would be earning.


I have a Taiwanese mate who is on comparatively good money, 60k, and I have no idea how he manages to get by with two kids. His wife has a job for a further 25k. However, they send both kids to a private bilingual kindy which costs 30k. His mortgage is 25k, so their combined income is immediately down to 30k a month. Subtract bills, car loan, groceries etc and he clearly can't be saving each month. Raising kids is really expensive and Taiwan is not a child-friendly place, so I can only see the numbers going in one direction.


This is the bit that I really don't get. I have a friend who works in the MOE programme. His wife is originally from Yilan County. He could basically do his job anywhere (he has had the option of taking a position in Hualian, for instance), for the same money. A large part of his and his wife's decision to live in New Taipei City and for her to work in Taipei City is based upon her job. Yet she has a very average kind of job. I can't see how that can possibly make any financial sense. The higher cost of living, commuting, etc. in Taipei, coupled with the fact that they pay a babysitter for their kid who is about one year old, just can't possibly justify their situation. Even if she got a job in Hualian for 15K/month less (and it probably wouldn't be that much less), it would still work out better to move to Hualian. Or even better, I'm sure they could figure something out for Yilan, and then her mother could help look after the kid. My friend is sick of commuting (to Xinzhu) for work, and he's talking about freelancing and doing privates around where they live. Yeah, him and every other foreigner in Taipei. Too much competition. I can't see that that would work out for him. Yet if he and his wife were to find a somewhat large town (such as the one she is from!!!) and set up shop there, even in an unofficial capacity at first, they could probably do okay and have virtually no competition.

I just don't understand the rationale of moving to Taipei to earn, for example, 6,000NTD/month more, but spend 12,000NTD/month more in the process. Yet I can't get this through to my friend.
And you coming in to scold us all like some kind of sour-puss kindie assistant who favors olive cardigans and lemon drinks without sugar. -- Muzha Man

One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words "Socialism" and "Communism" draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, "Nature Cure" quack, pacifist, and feminist in England. -- George Orwell
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Re: Population Statistics

Postby headhonchoII » 04 Jul 2012, 12:41

tomthorne wrote:They are incredible figures. The under fives in particular. The area I'm living is growing and is full of young families, so there are still loads of ankle biters around. It must be in the countryside where there are no children.

You'd think that there would be a major panic in a society where early retirement is the norm. Who's going to pay for the oldies?


Not really, if you look who actually lives with Taipei City boundaries it's mostly older folk, most young people could not afford to purchase a house there and raise children. On the other hand all my wife's cousins from Miaoli County are having multiple kids, one even had three kids within 5 years which I have never seen in the city. At the same time there is a deficit of children compared to years past even in the countryside.
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Re: Population Statistics

Postby headhonchoII » 04 Jul 2012, 12:44

tomthorne wrote:They are incredible figures. The under fives in particular. The area I'm living is growing and is full of young families, so there are still loads of ankle biters around. It must be in the countryside where there are no children.

You'd think that there would be a major panic in a society where early retirement is the norm. Who's going to pay for the oldies?


The year of the dragon has resulted in every maternity centre being overbooked this year. I know because we had a daughter recently :). I could see the birth rate stabilising somewhat now, most couples still want two children, if they are able to have them. Because of the later age of marriage and first births many couples have difficult conceding one let alone two children..and affording them is another matter entirely.
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And I can still hear my old hound dog barkin' chasin' down a hoodoo there
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Re: Population Statistics

Postby GuyInTaiwan » 04 Jul 2012, 12:50

Conceding?

"Yes, doctor, unfortunately, I must admit that this is my child, as ugly as it is. Can't I take another instead?"
And you coming in to scold us all like some kind of sour-puss kindie assistant who favors olive cardigans and lemon drinks without sugar. -- Muzha Man

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Re: Population Statistics

Postby headhonchoII » 04 Jul 2012, 12:58

GuyInTaiwan wrote:
tomthorne wrote:
creztor wrote: I still don't know how parents here manage to raise children when their combined income must be around 50k - 60k a month with both parents working, at least that what I think most people would be earning.


I have a Taiwanese mate who is on comparatively good money, 60k, and I have no idea how he manages to get by with two kids. His wife has a job for a further 25k. However, they send both kids to a private bilingual kindy which costs 30k. His mortgage is 25k, so their combined income is immediately down to 30k a month. Subtract bills, car loan, groceries etc and he clearly can't be saving each month. Raising kids is really expensive and Taiwan is not a child-friendly place, so I can only see the numbers going in one direction.


This is the bit that I really don't get. I have a friend who works in the MOE programme. His wife is originally from Yilan County. He could basically do his job anywhere (he has had the option of taking a position in Hualian, for instance), for the same money. A large part of his and his wife's decision to live in New Taipei City and for her to work in Taipei City is based upon her job. Yet she has a very average kind of job. I can't see how that can possibly make any financial sense. The higher cost of living, commuting, etc. in Taipei, coupled with the fact that they pay a babysitter for their kid who is about one year old, just can't possibly justify their situation. Even if she got a job in Hualian for 15K/month less (and it probably wouldn't be that much less), it would still work out better to move to Hualian. Or even better, I'm sure they could figure something out for Yilan, and then her mother could help look after the kid. My friend is sick of commuting (to Xinzhu) for work, and he's talking about freelancing and doing privates around where they live. Yeah, him and every other foreigner in Taipei. Too much competition. I can't see that that would work out for him. Yet if he and his wife were to find a somewhat large town (such as the one she is from!!!) and set up shop there, even in an unofficial capacity at first, they could probably do okay and have virtually no competition.

I just don't understand the rationale of moving to Taipei to earn, for example, 6,000NTD/month more, but spend 12,000NTD/month more in the process. Yet I can't get this through to my friend.


A lot of people don't want to move back to their hometown. Sometimes they think it's boring. Sometimes they have unhappy memories. Sometimes they think it's too close to their family. Sometimes they prefer the big city and bright lights. I've had similar conversations with the wife, it's her who is the unenthusiastic one about moving too close to her family.
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And I can still hear my old hound dog barkin' chasin' down a hoodoo there
Chasin' down a hoodoo there.
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