TAIPEI, Nov 22, 2010 (AFP) - Most childless Taiwanese have no plans of parenthood even though the vast majority believe that a dwindling birth rate is a serious issue for the island, a survey showed Monday.
Altogether 64 percent of working Taiwanese presently without children do not intend to have any in the future, according to 104 Job Bank, the island's largest online human resources service.
Of these, 61 percent said they had given up hope of becoming parents because they believed they could not afford to support a family, 104 Job Bank said. Meanwhile, 38 percent argued that, with their responsibilities at work, they would not have the energy to take proper care of their children, according to the survey, which allowed respondents to give more than one reason.
Despite the reluctance to raise children, 87 percent thought that the declining birth rate in Taiwan was a serious problem, the survey showed.
Sixty-four percent were concerned the result would be a society unable to look after its elderly, while 37 percent were worried about the consequences of having to import labour from abroad.
104 Job Bank carried out the survey among 2,990 respondents in the period from October 15 to 19. The survey had a margin of error of 1.8 percentage points at a confidence level of 95 percent.
Taiwan, with a population of 23 million, has one of the world's lowest birth rates. Only 191,310 babies were born last year, with the average birth rate falling to 1.03 for each woman, well below the replacement rate of 2.1 births.
Taiwan's authorities have been offering various incentives to try to boost birth rates, amid growing concerns that a shrinking population and severe manpower shortage will trigger serious social and economic problems.