Taipei, April 7 (CNA) Taiwanese nationals with foreign spouses from Southeast Asia made up about 40 percent of all transnational couples married last year, the first time since 2005 the number has surpassed that of Chinese spouses, according to the Ministry of the Interior (MOI).
According to the latest findings by the MOI, a total of 21,097 transnational couples married in Taiwan in 2017, accounting for 15.3 percent of all 138,034 marriages in the country.
This marks a six year high in the number of foreign spouses, but in 2017 the number of spouses from Southeast Asia was also 4 percent higher than the number from mainland China.
In 2017, there were 8,569 Southeast Asian spouses, accounting for 40.62 percent of all transnational couples, followed by 7,634 mainland Chinese spouses, making up 36.19 percent and 1,316 or 6.24 percent from Hong Kong and Macau. Spouses from elsewhere accounted for 16.96 percent of the total.
More specifically, except those from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao, the top three nationalities for foreign spouses were Vietnamese at 6,076, Japanese 952, and Indonesian 807.
While the number of foreign spouses from Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, Macao and elsewhere all increased last year, the number of Chinese spouses fell by 1,039.
The majority of foreign spouses remained female at 74.86 percent, though the gender gap is narrowing, according to the MOI.
(By Liu Lee-jung and Kuan-lin Liu)