Taiwan Government Implements Subsidies Program to Combat Low Birth Rate

The New Taipei City Government has announced it will issue subsides to newlywed couples as well as to couples between the ages of 24-40 who have newborn children.

The subsides will be valued at NT$2,400 (US$80) a month to couples who fall under the two criteria and will last for one year, upon which couples can re-apply under certain conditions.

Talk of such moves has been under discussion for the past two years in Taiwan as the island’s birth rate has been at an all-time low coupled with rising house prices. Citizens of Taiwan complain that the reason they are not having children is largely financial, and that economic stability along with firmly securing basic living standards is a priority.

Yahoo news Taiwan reported of the move by the New Taipei City government in late April 2014, stating the government will first issue the subsidies to about 100 different couples on a raffle basis. Upon evaluating the results of the subsidies the government will make further plans to expand the subsidies to other eligible contestants in 2015 as well as expand the number of people who are eligible.

However, the criteria for which citizens will be eligible, has yet to be released and more detailed reports indicating the salary and location requirements are expcted to be revealed soon.

In the Yahoo article, the government’s move has been criticized by various citizens stating that while they appreciate the subsidies it is not comparable to the burdens modern day workers face in trying to purchase a home and meet everyday living costs, yet alone bring a child into the picture.

House prices in Taiwan have skyrocketed over the last 5-7 years while average wages at large have been the same over the same period, with some stating the wages haven’t changed in roughly a decade. While there are many reasons associated with such trends, the general consensus seems to be related to lack of government intervention and regulation coupled with lack of economic strategy in the global market.

Many people are worried about the state of affairs in Taiwan and whether the nation will be able to bounce back economically and regain a competitive edge in the Asia market. Due to the wage versus standard of living costs in terms of house purchasing being the most extreme in the world statistically, many market observers believe Taiwan’s economy is stagnant and unable to unleash its creative and innovative potential due to economic constraints that start from basic living standards.

As this occurs amid rising neighbor China in addition to government support in Japan and Korea for developing industries, Taiwan may continue to see it hurt economically unless it takes more measures. Whether or not the subsidies will make a difference is up for a debate, but it seems that at least they will out a little.

Other reports meanwhile are focused on Taiwan’s economic future in terms of Taiwan’s relationship with China. Taiwanese fear that if Taiwan becomes too liberalized in terms of allowing Mainland Chinese to come to Taiwan for work that the housing market will remain high and will be increasingly dominated by the Chinese.

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