Low pay, long work hours take toll on Taiwan’s birth rate: poll

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According to the poll released by yes123 that day, 63 percent of office workers aged 20 and above who responded to the poll had no children and of those, 48 percent did not plan to start a family for low salary. (Photo courtesy of CNA, 2018.4.2)

Taipei, April 2 (CNA) Inadequate finances, being unable to afford to buy a home and long work hours are the three major reasons for Taiwan’s low birth rate, as identified by a yes123 online job bank survey Monday.

According to the poll released by yes123 that day, 63 percent of office workers aged 20 and above who responded to the poll had no children and of those, 48 percent did not plan to start a family.

Asked a multiple choice question on why they did not want children, 66.3 percent cited concerns about not making enough money to raise a child, 42.2 percent said they could not afford to buy a home for children and 28.9 percent pointed to being busy at work.

Other reasons cited for the reluctance to start a family were dissatisfaction with Taiwan’s education system (23.5 percent) and concerns about the negative impact on children of serious social problems (21.9 percent).

Yes123 spokesman Yang Tsung-bin (楊宗斌) said the survey shows Taiwan’s low birth rate is related to not only low salary levels, pay freezes and long working hours, but also high housing prices, educational environment and social order.

As such, the best way for the government to boost Taiwan’s birth rate is to increase the minimum wage and call on enterprises to raise salaries through measures such as industrial transformation, while working to improve social welfare and social security.

The survey also found that respondents believe an estimated NT$102,210 in monthly household income is required to raise a child in Taiwan, with NT$108,435 in the nation’s six municipalities and NT$86,971 in other cities and counties.

The survey was conducted from March 15-27 among job seekers aged 20 and above through online questionnaires, with 1,236 valid samples collected, including 692 from married persons (434 with children) and 544 from singles (23 with children). It had a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of plus or minus 2.79 percentage points.

Taiwan has the third-lowest birth rate in the world, after Singapore and Macau, according to the most recent data released last year by the CIA World Factbook.

(By Chiu Po-sheng and Evelyn Kao)