08/19/2004, 00.00
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Government help for would-be mothers

Taipei (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Taiwanese government has launched a US$ 4.3 million campaign to encourage couples to have more children. Last year the country's fertility rate was at its lowest level; it stood at 1.2 children per woman. Along with that of Italy and Spain it is one of the lowest in the world.

For over three years local health authorities have been promoting a campaign to have women bear their first child before the age of 30 and their second no later than 35.

The new campaign is expected to provide greater assistance to couples and their children. It is set to finance training courses for men on how they can contribute to their children's education and upbringing.

A 2002 survey by the Bureau of Health Promotion found that 20% of Taiwanese women wished having no children or at best one child compared to 7% in 1998.

Authorities attribute the birth rate drop to the fact that more women get married at a later age or prefer to stay single.

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