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Incentives to raise Taipei birthrate successful

TAIPEI -- Taipei had the highest birthrate among Taiwan's five special municipalities in both 2011 and 2012, as well as in the first 11 months of the year, an achievement attributed to the city's successful incentives aimed at encouraging citizens to bear children.

The population of newborns in Taipei grew 35.6 percent in 2011 from the previous year, and 59.2 percent last year, according to statistics compiled by the Department of Civil Affairs (DCA) of the Taipei city government.

As of November this year, the number of newborns had registered a year-on-year growth of 46.6 percent, DCA Director Huang Lu Chin-ju said yesterday.

In terms of the birth rate, Taipei recorded 9.54 per 1,000 people in 2011, 11.08 per 1,000 in 2012 and 9.1 per 1,000 in the period from January to November this year, Huang Lu said, noting that all the figures are higher than those in the other four municipalities — New Taipei, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung.

The 9.1 per 1,000 recorded for the 11-month period is also higher than the average national birth rate of 7.78 per 1,000 in the same period of this year, Huang Lu added.

She attributed the phenomenon to the city's success in boosting its low birthrate with an incentive program that began in January 2011.

Under the “pregnancy encouragement” program, a NT$20,000 (US$677) payment is given to any family that has a baby, with monthly subsidies available for eligible parents with a child five years old or under.

Other incentives include subsidies for public preschools offering after school care services and for enterprises that establish daycare facilities for the children of their workers.

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