Declining Birthrate in Taiwan: Countermeasures and Perspectives
On May 6th, Child Welfare League Foundation (CWLF) and Child Health Alliance Taiwan (CHAT) co-organized “Declining Birthrate in Taiwan: Countermeasures and Perspectives” forum and invited the Vice President Lai Ching-Te(賴清德), Minister without Portfolio Li Wan-Yi(林萬億), legistators and specialists from business, medicine and academic fields to discuss new solutions for low birthrate in Taiwan.
According to CWLF’s “2021 Preschooler Parenting Status and Needs Survey,” families with children under 6 years of age felt the most effective policies to reduce parenting stress were: 1. tax deduction (79 points); 2. extension on child benefit (78.3 points); 3. increase amount of child benefit(77.8 points); 4. increase public preschools and daycare centers (76.1 points); 5. extension on parental leave allowance (72.6 points). Among these Top 5 policies, four of them were related to financial support, which made it clear that parents found financial support most helpful to reduce parenting stress.
However, only financial support cannotsolveall difficulties parents experience in childrearing. Many families were hoping for public preschool and daycare services (e.g., increase public preschools and daycare centers, extend compulsory education to one year younger),friendly workplace policies, housing policies (e.g., discount for families with children, rental subsidies, priority of renting social housing).Nevertheless, the government did not provide sufficient respondingresources.Policies concerning childrearing in Taiwan should be more diverse.
Based on parents’ needs, CWLF calls on Taiwan government to implement the following childrearing-friendly policies.
Establish a birthrate central competent authority
Japan, who has been facing the same declining birthrate crisis, established the Council on Measures for Society with Decreasing Birthrate to integrate national child welfare and childcare policies to counter the decreasing birthrate. Taiwan government should promptly establish a competent authority at Yuan level to integrate measures concerning declining birthrate and reinforce cooperation among administrative agencies for resource allocation and policy implementation.
Establish more diverse policies to support childrearing
Taiwan’s current measures against declining birthrate are delegated to Ministry of Health and Welfare and Ministry of Education. However, the effective policies families expect require efforts from all ministries. Ministry of Labors, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of The Interior should all join the force to provide more comprehensive friendly workplace, tax deduction and housing policy to support childrearing families in every aspect.
Table 1: Top 12 Policies to Reduce Childrearing Stress
Extension on child benefit
Increase amount of child benefit
Increase of public preschools and daycare centers
Extension on parental leave allowance
Increase parental leave allowance to 80% of monthly insurance salary
Discount for families with children purchasing houses
Law amendment stipulates 7 days paid family care leave
Priority of renting social housing
Extension on compulsory education to one year younger