This photo taken on March 31, 2021 shows people crossing a street in Taipei. Photograph:( Reuters )
Taiwan's dwindling birth rates reflect the increasing choice of younger people, especially women, to get married at an older age, have smaller families or stay single
Taiwan is experiencing a profound shift demographic shift and is hurtling towards 'super-aged status as the birthrate plummets.
In 1951, the average Taiwanese woman gave birth to seven children. Now it is less than one.
Last year the island recorded more deaths than births, a watershed moment that signals Taiwan's population officially contracted for the first time.
In the first quarter of this year, deaths outpaced births by 47,626 to 34,917.
It is an increasingly familiar story across East Asia. Japan has led the way, hitting that population decline milestone in 2007.
South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan also joined the club last year.
Government census data released earlier this month showed China's population is now growing at its slowest pace in decades.
Much of Asia faces a looming labour crisis with few families supplying the average 2.1 children needed for a population to replicate.
Millions are approaching retirement age with neither enough younger generations, or immigrants, to fill their shoes.
Taiwan's dwindling birth rates reflect the increasing choice of younger people, especially women, to get married at an older age, have smaller families or stay single.
Another cause of low births is the sheer cost of living. Taiwan's industrialisation last century transformed the island into a regional economic powerhouse.
But in the last decade or so wages have stagnated as daily expenses continue to rise. Unless there is a radical change, Taiwan is projected to become a "super-aged society" by 2025 with one in every five citizens aged over 65.
(With inputs from agencies)