Taiwan’s birth rate rose for the first time in 11 years in the first half of 2011 after a string of incentives aimed at boosting the island’s fertility, among the world’s lowest, according to the government.
A total of 91,658 babies were born in first six months, up 10.82 percent from the same period last year, of which nearly 15,900 babies were born in June alone, said the interior ministry.
The birth rate rose to 7.98 births per 1,000 people, up from 7.21 in the first half of 2010.
The authorities have offered various incentives to couples in recent years, including cash gifts and other childcare and fertility treatment subsidies amid growing concerns of a serious manpower shortage.
Taiwan’s birth rate hit a record low in 2010 to one of the world’s lowest when the number of newborns dwindled to 166,886 from 191,310 of 2009, government data showed.
Meanwhile, the number of people aged 65 and over accounted for 10.74 percent of the island’s more than 23 million population, above the 7.0 percent level at which a society is defined as “ageing” by the World Health Organisation.
Taiwan’s birth rate had been falling since 2000 when 305,300 babies were born in the Year of Dragon, considered the most auspicious year in the Chinese zodiac and a favorite birth sign for children.