DATA: Food Price Rises Outpace Income Growth in Taiwan

DATA: Food Price Rises Outpace Income Growth in Taiwan
示意圖,非實際違規業者。Photo Credit:Connie Ma CC BY-SA 2.0
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Are Taiwanese consumers better off than they were a decade ago?

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The price of almost everything is going up in Taiwan, but the good news is that the nation's tepid income growth is usually able to outpace prices.

Medical care has doubled in price since the early 1980s, housing costs saw a 46 percent increase and the only large drop has been the price of communication. The boom time of the '80s and '90s is over; prices have remained remarkably steady for the past decade, with one notable exception -- food.

Since 2003, food prices, have risen 41 percent, while incomes rose just 18 percent.

Percent Change in Price of Major Expenditures

The price of food hasn't risen uniformly -- in relation to income, fruit and vegetables are more expensive today than they were in 1981.

Percent Change in Food Prices

If pricey mangoes are getting you down, soda and beer are still cheap, with the price of non-alcoholic beverages only rising 12 percent since Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) was president.

Percent Change in Beverage, Betel and Tobacco Prices

The sudden bump in the price of alcohol was due to the imposition of an alcohol tax in January 2002, which one study found decreased alcohol-related deaths by over 10 percent in men aged 15-64.

While Taiwan is a much wealthier country today than it was in the 1980s, it still spends a larger proportion of its income on food than other countries in the region -- 24 percent in 2008, compared to 15 percent in South Korea or 12 percent in Japan.

All data is from the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) of the Executive Yuan.

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