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.

Most Popular


Betsy DeVos Strikes a Blow for the Constitution

The Department of Education has issued its long-awaited proposed regulations reforming sexual-assault adjudications on college campus. Not only will these rules restore basic due process and fairness to college tribunals, but they also — given how basic the changes are — highlight just how ridiculous ... Read More
Politics & Policy

ABC News Makes a Serious Mistake

Today, across Twitter, I began to see a number of people condemning the Trump administration (and Betsy DeVos, specifically) for imposing a new definition of sexual assault on campus so strict that it would force women to prove that they were so harassed that they'd been chased off campus and couldn't return. ... Read More