Translated by Shin-wei Chang
Edited by Yuan-ling Liang and Olivia Yang

Most of us were taught this math problem when we were kids: how do you cut a cake into two equal halves? What if we applied this to dividing the island of Taiwan? To answer this question, we calculated the area of over 7,600 villages and the data of their population and income. Let’s take a look at the results.

*Editor’s Note: The following results only include districts on the main island of Taiwan, while other islands, such as Kinmen and Penghu, are excluded.

First, we divided the area of the island into equal halves.

same area

We found 10,000 ways to cut the island into half and calculate each center of mass. Then we tried to find a way to make the difference between the two divided areas as close as zero as possible.

By doing so, we found dividing line is located at the edge of Nantou County, simultaneously crossing Yunlin and Hualien County. However, there are 16 million people spread in the northern part, which is far more than the seven million in the south.

Looking at the picture, we can see that the northern and central parts of Taiwan are the highest populated areas.

What if we divide the island according to population?

same pop

Following the same method, we calculated the ways to divide the island, and narrowed down the difference to as close to zero as possible based on the statistics from last June.

The dividing line turned out to move upward, crossing Hualien County and Taichung City. In addition, the total population in Taipei City, New Taipei City, Keelung City, Taoyuan City, Hsinchu County and Hsinchu City, Miaoli County, Yilan County and part of Taichung City is as much as the rest of the island.

Finally, let’s divide the island based on household income.

same income

Based on the statistics in 2013 from the Ministry of Finance, we also tried to divide the island and make the sum of household income in the two areas as close as we could.

It turned out that the sum of household income in Taipei City, New Taipei City, Keelung City, Taoyuan City, part of Hsinchu County and Yilan County equals the amount of income of the rest of the island. This result shows that the economic activities are excessively located in northern Taiwan.