CARTOON: Taiwan's Government Plays Matchmaker

CARTOON: Taiwan's Government Plays Matchmaker
Why you need to know

The Ministry of the Interior wants to get people in the mood, but young couples aren't taking the hint.

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Taiwan's graying society has become an internal security issue for Taiwan. As the population refuses to grow, the demographic sledgehammer is set to come down hard on the country.

Taiwan's birth rate has ranked among the lowest in the world for several years running; in 2017 Taiwan only beat out Macau and Singapore. This will have massive implications in coming decades as more people approach retirement, and the pension battles are only starting to heat up.

The Ministry of the Interior has come up with their own solution – matchmaking events. The activities range from board game afternoons in Chiayi to hot spring bicycle tours of Taitung.

This does little to address the underlying problems; commonly cited reasons for not starting families include stagnant wages, exorbitant housing prices, long working hours and a generally unfavorable working environment. Taiwan's working class is just under too much pressure.

Another attempt to egg on a baby boom occurred in 2013, when Taiwan attempted to re-brand the year of the snake as a "small dragon year" – more kids are typically born in the auspicious year of the dragon.

If its any consolation to Taiwan, it's hardly the only one in the region to see perilous population decline. Japan is laying the groundwork for the widespread use of elder care robots. In China, the end of the One Child Policy in January 2016 led to a brief baby boom, but the birth rate has still not risen to the point where the population will be stable in coming decade.

Read next: INFOGRAPHIC: Taiwan's Population Hits a Turning Point

Editor: Morley J Weston

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