Birth Rate in Taiwan
In Taiwan, birth rate surged 16 percent in the nine months to September after the government offered subsidies to couples in a bid to boost birth rate, say officials.
Tax breaks and subsidies aimed at helping young couples buy houses were among the incentives offered as Taipei seeks to raise the island's fertility rate, which is among the world's lowest.
A total of 142,345 babies were born in the first nine months, an increase of 19,567, or 15.9 percent from the same period last year, according to statistics released Saturday by the interior ministry.
In September alone, 18,003 babies were born, or a 21-month high, it said.
The government this year budgeted Tw$2.44 billion ($79.8 million) for subsidies targeted at young married couples.
Authorities have offered other incentives such as tax reduction, cash gifts and financial help with childcare and fertility treatment.
The stronger birth rate was also attributed to parents wanting their babies to be born during the centenary of the republic, considered a auspicious date by many Taiwanese, interior ministry officials said.
Taiwan's birth rate had been falling since 2000 when 305,300 babies were born in the Year of Dragon, considered the luckiest year in the Chinese zodiac and a favourite birth sign for children.