The Corner

Off the Demographic Cliff

Taiwan has now joined the select group of territories with Total Fertility Rate below 1.0.

(It’s a very select group: The only place thus listed by the CIA World Factbook is Macau. There is some variation in the TFR numbers depending on how they’re sourced, though. I have seen Singapore and Hong Kong both listed as below 1.0, though I can’t now find the references.)

Recall that 2.1 is replacement level, the figure you need to keep your population size constant. At 1.0 you’re only producing half as many babies as you need for stable population size.

There may be particular factors depressing this year’s numbers:

The government, however, blames the lower birth rate on superstition.

The year 2009 was considered an unlucky year to get married, and 2010 — the year of the tiger — a bad year to have children.

However, officials say this year is considered a lucky one as it is the country’s 100th anniversary. [I.e. the Republic of China, which is still Taiwan’s official name for itself — J.D.]

Between January and July, the number of marriages rose more than 12% compared to the same period last year, and the number of births also shot up.

Next year, the year of the dragon, is especially auspicious for having children.

Maybe so, but don’t be looking for a Somalia-level TFR (that would be 6.35). On the bright side, don’t be looking for a Somalia-scale famine either.

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

Most Popular

Culture

Jussie Smollett Jokes Declared Off-Limits

The Jussie Smollett story has been declared not fit for jokes. "It's a straight-up tragedy," declares the co-creator of a Comedy Central show, South Side, set in Chicago. Bashir Salahuddin, a former Jimmy Fallon writer, says “The whole situation is unfortunate. Particularly for the city, there’s bigger ... Read More
U.S.

What The 1619 Project Leaves Out

“The goal of The 1619 Project, a major initiative from The New York Times that this issue of the magazine inaugurates, is to reframe American history by considering what it would mean to regard 1619 as our nation’s birth year,” The New York Times Magazine editors declare. “Doing so requires us to place ... Read More
PC Culture

Courage Is the Cure for Political Correctness

This might come as some surprise to observers of our campus culture wars, but there was a time, not long ago, when the situation in American higher education was much worse. There a wave of vicious campus activism aimed at silencing heterodox speakers, and it was typically empowered by a comprehensive regime of ... Read More
Film & TV

The Movies Take On Limbaugh, Levin, et al.

Oh, good, here’s the lefty British comic Steve Coogan to give us his take on American right-wing talk radio. Let’s all settle in for some deep insights. The comedy-drama is dismally titled Hot Air. No, seriously. That’s what they came up with. Coogan’s Lionel Macomb is introduced to us via his ... Read More
White House

Trump’s Ignorant Comments on Israel

Making the click-through worthwhile: figuring out what President Trump meant when he said Jews who vote for Democrats show “either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty”; examining the data on how American Jews actually feel about Israel; and why Democrats will always find a way or a reason to avert ... Read More