09/07/2010, 00.00
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Taipei, childcare incentives to counter falling birth rate

Births at an historic low, with 1.03 children per mother. Aid for children from low income families. In Taipei incentives for each new born. But experts in family welfare say it is too little.

Taipei (AsiaNews / Agencies) - To curb the falling birth-rate, next year the Interior Ministry will launch funding for babysitters.

Chang Hsiu-yuan, director of the Child Welfare Bureau, also announced yesterday that families with three children, whose third is under two years of age, will receive a monthly subsidy of 3 thousand Taiwan dollars (NTD, about 74 Euros).

From 2012 the ministry will give 5 thousand NTD (about 123 Euros) per month per child for families with low incomes, less than 1.5 million NTD (about 36 thousand Euros). Chang also stated that he is trying to remove the income limit.

In Taipei, the growth rate is the lowest in the country (less than 20 thousand children born in one year). To encourage parents to have children, next year the government will give a subsidy of 20 thousand NTD (490 Euros) for every newborn.

Last year 191,310 children were born in Taiwan, 3.74% less than the previous year.

This initiative by the Ministry for the Interior is an attempt to increase the rate of population growth which is at a historic low. Last year the average number of children per woman in Taiwan dropped to 1.03. With this aid the Government hopes to increase that figure to 1.3. Demographers generally set to 2.1 as the ideal proportion of children in order to maintain the population.

The government fears that the falling birth rate will lead to a decline in the labour force and serious economic problems. According to experts in family welfare, the government subsidies are not very helpful. "The average cost for child care is somewhere between 15 thousand and 27 thousand NTD [368-663 euro] a month."

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