Family Demography in Asia
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Family Demography in Asia

A Comparative Analysis of Fertility Preferences

Edited by Stuart Gietel-Basten, John Casterline and Minja K. Choe

The demographic future of Asia is a global issue. As the biggest driver of population growth, an understanding of patterns and trends in fertility throughout Asia is critical to understand our shared demographic future. This is the first book to comprehensively and systematically analyse fertility across the continent through the perspective of individuals themselves rather than as a consequence of top-down government policies.
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Chapter 22: Fertility preferences in Taiwan

Stuart Gietel-Basten


Taiwan currently has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world. These low fertility rates are presented as a major demographic challenge, leading to population ageing and decline. Indeed, they have been recently referred to as a ‘national security issue’. The pace of Taiwan’s fertility transition has been nothing short of remarkable, with total fertility rates (TFRs) in excess of five children per woman as recently as the mid-1960s. Much of this decline can be linked to the very extensive family planning programmes in place on the island. Indeed, Taiwan’s early family planning systems and the role of changing overall fertility preferences, and gendered preferences in particular, has been extensively studied in the past and are reviewed in this chapter. More recently, however, less attention has been paid to fertility preferences in Taiwan. In this chapter recent trends are reviewed. In particular, recent evidence suggests that while a two-child ideal might exist, the intention of moving to a second child among couples with one is much less certain. Furthermore, there is evidence that suggests son preference is still shaping parity-specific fertility intentions in Taiwan.

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