Around 1 in 2 women happy not to have children: survey

Around 46 percent of women of childbearing age in Taiwan do not feel the need to have children, according to the results of a survey released on May 7 by a non-profit child welfare organization. (NOWnews)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Around 46 percent of women of childbearing age in Taiwan do not feel the need to have children, according to the results of a survey released on May 7 by a non-profit child welfare organization.

In the Child Welfare League Foundation (CWLF) survey, 46.4 percent of Taiwan women aged 20-44 said they felt no need to have children, while only 39.5 percent said they planned to have one or more, which the foundation said could make Taiwan’s low birthrate even more serious.

As many as 81.7 percent of mothers that expressed the desire for another child said it was because they want their existing children to have siblings, according to the survey results.

Meanwhile, 63.8 percent of mothers who said they do not want to have more children said it was because of financial pressure, the survey showed.

Another 55.2 percent of women who do not plan to have children said they did not want their current freedom and lifestyle to be restricted.

In addition, in terms of relatively younger women — those aged 20-29 — who have not yet given birth, 62.4 percent said that not having children would not be a problem, while 37.1 percent said they would prefer to look after a pet than raise a child.

According to the survey results, 41.7 percent said that in order to increase the willingness of women to have children, housing prices need to be more affordable and 36.7 percent said salaries need to be higher, while 32.1 percent said their workplaces should offer child- care services.

The survey was released ahead of Mothers Day, which is observed on the second Sunday of May.

Li Hung-wen (李宏文), head of the CWLF’s policymaking center, said the beliefs of some of the younger women could destroy their chances of becoming mothers in the future.

Li said the government must tackle the problem of the low willingness of women to have children and propose effective countermeasures.

The Ministry of Labor needs to act on improving salaries and making companies implement child-care services, Li said, adding that the government should provide full-time working mothers with financial support and assistance in finding resources.

Allowance and child care subsidies should be increased for mothers who have more than one child, while housing prices should be stabilized and more public housing offered, he said.

The survey was conducted in March and collected 9,706 valid samples from women aged 20-44, of which 60 percent had children.

By Pheonix Hsu and William Yen