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Taipei birth rate hits new high under stimulus plan

TAIPEI--The number of newborns in Taipei in 2011 increased about 36 percent compared with the year before, thanks to a series of financial incentives aimed at boosting the city's birth rate, the city government said Wednesday.

According to data compiled by the Department of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, the number of babies born in the city in 2011 was 25,439, up by 6,762, or 35.95 percent, from a year earlier.

The number of second babies born during the same period also increased 39.23 percent from the previous year.

Meanwhile, the average age of the fathers of newborns in 2011 decreased to 35.31, for the first time since 1996, while the age of the mothers also saw a drop to 32.55, according to the data.

Taipei introduced a “happy pregnancy” program last January with the aim of encouraging young married couples to have children earlier in their married lives. Many young couples are reluctant to have children due to financial constraints.

Under the program, each newborn is entitled to a NT$20,000 (US$667.62) payment upon birth, as long as one of its parents is a registered Taipei resident, the city government said.

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