Life Expectancy in Taiwan

Taiwan is a small island off the eastern coast of China. The small country, rich in culture, food and language, is also known for their longevity and aging population. Additionally, over time, Taiwan has seen an increase in advocacy for better living standards of citizens of Taiwan; in turn, increasing the life expectancy in Taiwan. Here are the top 10 facts about life expectancy in Taiwan.

Top 10 Facts About Life Exectancy in Taiwan:

  1. According to the CIA World Factbook, Taiwan’s life expectancy is 80.4 years old. For men, it ranks at 77.2 years and for women, 83.7 years. As a whole, the country ranks 43rd globally in life expectancy.
  2. The Taipei Times state that, the country is experiencing a long-term improvement in life expectancy, as a result of the National Health Insurance, better hospitals and higher standards of living.
  3. Residents living on the west coast have a longer life expectancy than those living on the east. This is because many of the major cities are in locations closer to financial districts. These include Tainan, Kaohsiung and Taichung, which are on the west coast, closer to China and Hong Kong, financial capitals.
  4. Taiwan has been experiencing a longer life expectancy since 1950. The era during the mid-1990s was a period of growth for Taiwan. For example, during this time, more than a million people traveled from Mainland China to Taiwan, many of which were better educated, with distinct professional profiles. Since then, Taiwan has been experiencing a rapid demographic transition and substantial economic development. In turn, there has been a decline in mortality and an increase in health and life expectancy.
  5. Taitung, a county on the east coast of Taiwan, has the shortest life expectancy at 75.05 years, according to the Ministry of Interior statistics. Taitung’s life expectancy is five years less than the national average due to several possible factors. This includes deficient transportation infrastructure, fewer medical services and lifestyle choices. It is evident that the effects of poverty have impacts on the longevity of the population. Some of these effects include a lack of access to medical resources and transportation.
  6. According to Focus Taiwan, life spans have been increasing steadily for decades. In fact, it has increased from 78.4 in 2017 to 80.4 presently. This is due to improvements in medical care, awareness of public food safety and the growing popularity of exercise. Improvements in the health sector by the government and general changes in mentality around diet and exercise in the public are clear indicators of the reduction of poverty, resulting in longer lives.
  7. As life expectancy in Taiwan’s grows, so does the aging population which n turn puts pressure on welfare and pension programs. To combat this, Taiwan has instated the Long-term Care Plan 2.0, a 10-year initiative that aims to provide affordable, comprehensive care to the aging population. For example, centers like Wei Ai Lun operate under the Long-term Care Plan 2.0. This center and provides activities and programs for seniors to engage, socialize and become active parts of their communities. Programs like the Long-term Care Plan 2.0 are part of Taiwan’s effort to consolidate their aging population.
  8. According to the 2013 National Health Interview Survey, around 86.3 percent of older adults have at least one chronic condition. However, the Taiwanese life span of men and women is continually growing. This is due to the National Health Insurance Program, a compulsory social insurance plan that covers examinations for elders no matter their age or income. The maintenance of the health of senior citizens is one of the major factors in life expectancy in Taiwan.
  9. Taiwan’s long-living population is a result of lifelong learning actively promoted by the government. In 2006, the Taiwanese government released a white paper titled, “Toward the Aged Society: Policies on Education for Older Adults,” which aims to encourage older adults to be active participants in their community. The government encourages socialization, autonomy and engagement of thousands of older adult through learning classes held throughout Taiwan.
  10. Taiwan’s success in preserving its older population is due to efforts in not only providing medical services and promoting lifelong learning. It expands to also devoting resources to developing geriatric research. Organizations like the Taiwan Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (TAGG) work to improve the lives of older adults by advancing studies in gerontology and geriatrics. Other organizations like the Federation for the Welfare of the Elderly (FWE) advocate and protect elders’ rights.

Life expectancy in Taiwan has been steadily growing since the 1950s. Although its resulting aging population puts a strain on pension and welfare systems, the Taiwanese government’s endeavors on aging through policy, research and promotion have evidently resulted in great successes in the older adult populations.

– Andrew Yang
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Taiwan

With more than 23.5 million citizens, the island of Taiwan is one of the most populated islands in the entire world.

Although many inhabitants are fluent in English, the official language of the land is Mandarin Chinese. Those who are born in Taiwan will often spend their lives in the country, along with those who move there.

Due to the delicious food, variety of outdoor activities, and diverse people, Taiwan is home to many exciting opportunities and an extravagant culture.

In the text below, top 10 facts about living conditions in Taiwan are presented.

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Taiwan

  1. The cost of living in Taiwan is cheaper than the cost of living in the Western or densely populated countries such as Japan or China. Rent prices in Taiwan are 17.90 percent lower than those in Japan and grocery prices are 14.92 percent lower.
  2. The capital of Taiwan, Taipei, is most known for its convenience. Many apartment complexes are within walking distance of many grocery markets, convenience stores, coffee shops and local restaurants. Contrary to the Western ones, Taiwanese convenience stores offer other services besides selling groceries and goods such as printing and utility payment counters.
  3. Along with its convenience, Taiwan is the destination for a variety of outdoor activities. The activities such as hiking, biking, camping, mountain climbing, paragliding, river tracing and surfing are wildly popular among native citizens and foreign tourists. With scenic geography, varied coastlines, cliffs, waterfalls and rivers, Taiwan offers many easily accessible opportunities to enjoy nature.
  4. Taiwan adopted a national health care system in 1995. Often praised for its easy accessibility, short waiting times, low cost and comprehensive population coverage, the National Health Insurance (NIH) system combined many small insurance schemes that only covered 57 percent of the population before 1995, into a singular, efficient national insurance system. Every Taiwanese citizen has an NIH card that identifies the person, brief medical history and payment information.
  5. Although the NIH covers an estimated 99 percent of the Taiwanese population, excluding those who have moved out of the country, the outpatient and wait times are relatively high. The average outpatient department rate is 14 patients per year per person. It is also not rare for many general practitioners to consult more than 50 people in a day, therefore limiting time with each individual patient to 5 minutes or less. Short contact times could contribute to misdiagnosis and higher patient volume and medical costs with searches for a second or third opinion.
  6. There are many environmental hazards that are prevalent in the urban areas of Taiwan. Vehicle pollution contributes to the occasion smog that may plague large and small cities such as Taipei and worsens air conditions around the suburban and rural areas. A lot of the air pollution that plagues Taiwanese inhabitants are blown down from mainland China.
  7. Environmental degradation is mainly caused by Taiwan’s increase in economy and industrialization. Taiwan’s economic success was in part contributed by zero restrictions concerning healthy environmental criteria. Water pollution is caused by 25 percent domestic sewage, 54 percent industrial water waste and 21 percent domestic animal waste. Untreated sewage water has caused high cases of hepatitis and with waste freely dumped in the water, air and on land, occupational diseases and cancer has doubled in the country since 1954.
  8. Many rural areas that supply agricultural goods have moved from pesticides and herbicides to the conservation of biodiversity among farms and forestry. In May 2018, with the help of the Forestry Bureau and local nongovernment organizations, as many as 200 farms across Taiwan have stopped chemical farming and began engaging in environmentally friendly farming.
  9. Impoverishment in Taiwan is met if the household average monthly income does not meet the estimated monthly minimum of its respective province or district. According to the National Encyclopedia, poverty in Taiwan only affects about 1 percent of its inhabitants, estimated at 129,968 people. This low number is a result of the government’s support of welfare programs that offer a variety of assistance and opportunities for low-income families. In 1999, the government allocated $5.08 billion for social welfare programs to support job-placement assistance, civic organizations, academic institutions and other foundations that aid with displaced or disadvantaged citizens.
  10. The Taiwanese government offers many elderly services to help support those who are retired or disabled. Social welfare programs offer day care services for elders who suffer from dementia, in-care home services for those over 65 with disabilities, residential homes, health insurance premium subsidies, protection services, special caregivers for low-income families, senior citizens services information hotlines and long-term care.

According to an InterNations Expat Insider Survey, 84 percent of expatriates were satisfied with their financial situation in Taiwan compared to the global average of 64 percent.

These top 10 facts about living conditions in Taiwan highlight how the welcoming and exciting atmosphere of Taiwan not only provide a satisfactory home for the country’s natives but also an inviting hand towards tourists and expatriates.

– Aria Ma

Photo: Flickr

 

facts about human rights in TaiwanIn August 2018, Taiwan was selected to host the Human Rights Forum. The Forum, according to the New York Times, is run by the New York-based Human Rights Foundation and has been held in Oslo every year since 2009. The Human Rights Foundation’s chief strategy officer Alex Gladstein explained that the forum’s goal is to inform activists around the world about Taiwan’s transition to democracy, which is an example of democracy in a Chinese society. As international human rights organizations recognize Taiwan’s unique position in Asia as an advocate for human rights and democracy, it is important to highlight several key facts about human rights in Taiwan.

Judiciary reform

According to the Taiwan 2017 Human Rights Report, there are no acknowledged instances of torture carried out against accused persons. Furthermore, to address issues of overcrowding in prisons, in June 2017, Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice gave prison inmates the right to maintain jobs outside the prison. The report indicated that 19 inmates had minimum monthly salaries of 690 U.S. dollars of which 60 percent was used as restitution to crime victims. Even more encouraging is that detention centers allowed both government and non-governmental inspections of the prisons. It is also important to note that prisoners have rights to legal counseling.

Also, arrests of individuals require warrants or summons. The report emphasized that all defendants are innocent until proven guilty. Regarding civil issues, an “impartial judiciary” is provided.

Freedom of speech

Freedom of speech and the press are observed in Taiwan, especially involving internet access. Taiwan also does not restrict academic freedom or cultural events.

In April 2018, the New York Times noted that Reporters Without Borders are going to open their first Asian bureau in Taipei, the Taiwanese capital. They decided to do so after considering, but rejecting Hong Kong. Taiwan’s selection over Hong Kong is tied with increasing pressure from the Government of China to Hong Kong, allowing Taiwan to surpass Hong Kong as the synonym for free speech in Asia.

Voting rights and protection of sexual assault victims

While Taiwan currently does not offer refugees protection, it does allow its citizens to migrate within its borders, emigrate from, and travel internationally. Such policies are not necessarily permanent, however, as Taiwan offers citizens the rights to elect government leaders through “secret ballot.” Suffrage is given to all citizens, including women.

Taiwan law prohibits rape, especially spousal rape, and domestic violence, but it is important to note that these crimes are often not reported. In addition, rape survivors are given protection in a way that they can endure their trials away from the public eye and the law permits a charge of rape even if the victim chooses not to press charges. This provision is one of the key facts about human rights in Taiwan, as charges for sexual assault can still be carried out, regardless of the social pressures that discourage victims to report. Also, the Sexual Assault Crime Prevention Act allows the use of one-way mirrors, video conferencing, or other practices to protect victims during questioning and trial.

In recent years, Taiwan became the front-runner of human rights in Asia, as seen through its shift toward judiciary reform, freedom of expression and increased protections for sexual assault victims. These key facts about human rights in Taiwan merit activists’ decision to host the upcoming Human Rights Forum and showcase Taiwan’s accomplishments and the path towards achieving even better results in the future

Christine Leung
Photo: Google

Women's Empowerment in Taiwain

Since ancient times, Taiwan has been part of China. The 23.5 million Taiwanese have a variety of similarities in language, culture, social and domestic habits with residents of China mainland. Women’s empowerment in Taiwan made a lot of progress in the past few decades. Thanks to family law amendments between 1996 and 2002, the legal rights of Taiwanese women improved. Women’s empowerment in Taiwan was among the top five Asia Pacific nations in 2013.

A 2013 survey presented an index of three indicators: employment, education and leadership. Among all participating Asian countries, Taiwan scored third in the employment indicator and second in women’s attendance in government. In regular employment and higher education, Taiwan’s score indicated that the job market and academia favor women over men.

Following the January 2016 election in Taiwan, the proportion of female legislators was 38 percent, putting it far ahead of the global average of 22 percent, many of its Asian counterparts as well as other nations including Britain, Germany and the U.S.

Since 1998, revised regulations were helpful to women’s empowerment in Taiwan by protecting property rights, prioritizing the best interests of children and allowing more freedom in divorce. Revisions to family law attenuated the superiority of a husband’s decisions on residence, property management and disciplinary measures. The Domestic Violence Prevention Law also has similar orientations on protecting women from mental and physical harm by their spouses.

A new employment law in May 2016 stipulated that any firm with more than 100 employees must provide a nursing room, childcare facilities or off-site alternatives. Official statistics showed that female labor participation increased from 45.3 percent in 1995 to 50.7 percent in 2015, and more than 90 percent of women aged 25-29 hold gainful employment at present.

In 2006, Landmarks of Women’s Culture in Taiwan was published by National Cultural Association, featuring many pioneering women in the nation. From 2013 to 2015, the Project on Women and Economic Development was spearheaded in Taiwan, where females played a keynote role on several forums of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Innovation. In October 2017, an APEC workshop hosted 60 women from 14 nations in Taipei, with the goal of promoting women and girl’s participation in STEM majors.

While women’s empowerment in Taiwan performs well among Asian-Pacific regions, issues of violence and discrimination require further concern. Most notably, real gender equality and empowerment of women must aim at cultural cognition, which promotes social harmony.

– Xin Gao

                                               

Taiwan Travel Act

The U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee recently passed the Taiwan Travel Act, allowing official travel between the U.S. and Taiwan. The State Department had previously placed restrictions on travel that prevented government officials from traveling to or from Taiwan. The enactment of the Taiwan Travel Act denounces these restrictions, encouraging diplomatic relations between Taiwan and the U.S.

Taiwan was previously a highly impoverished and war-torn country. Its development towards economic stability happened rapidly after the Taiwanese government began promoting the exportation of goods and global trade in the late 1960s. Since then, quality of life in Taiwan has increased substantially. Forbes even awarded Taiwan the number one destination for people who are interested in moving to live in another country, naming it “the best place for quality of life as well as for personal finances” above any other country. However, the number of Taiwanese citizens relying on social welfare is continually increasing, and in 2012 the number of people living below the poverty line shot up nearly 30 percent.

 

Taiwan Travel Act: An Economic Enhancement

 

The Taiwan Travel Act enactment will help improve Taiwan’s falling economy by improving its economic relationship with the U.S. Taiwan’s economy relies heavily on exports, and the U.S. is Taiwan’s most important market for trade. However, Taiwan’s exportation of goods to the U.S has been steadily declining. Faced with a rapidly changing global market, Taiwan’s inability to compete with other countries stems from its inability to negotiate better trade agreements and forge more mutually beneficial partnerships.

The Taiwan Travel Act states that it is now the policy of the U.S. to encourage the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, and any other instrumentality established by Taiwan, to conduct business in the United States. This includes activities that involve participation by Members of Congress, officials of Federal, State or local governments of the U.S, or any high-level official of Taiwan. This change will drastically improve the economic potential of Taiwan, allowing its leaders to negotiate on behalf of their best economic interests and stop trade decline.

– Jenae Atwell

Photo: Flickr

According to MSCI, a research agency for global investments, Taiwan has the third most successful emerging economy in the world. Unfortunately, when compared to all countries, Taiwan’s economic data is less impressive. The need for further economic growth and infrastructural improvements places Taiwan in the gap between emerging and developed nations. However, the penetration of social media in Taiwan is allowing its citizens to bridge another gap: the global digital divide.

Despite the incredible economic strides Taiwan has made in recent years, it is still considered an emerging nation. Shortcomings in its infrastructure, including faulty gas lines and poorly constructed housing developments, contribute to Taiwan’s inability to achieve categorization as a developed nation. National health issues, such as pollution from factories, also play a role in the retention of Taiwan’s emerging status. MSCI states that the biggest hurdle Taiwan has to overcome is making its market more accessible to other countries.

Taiwan still has improvements to make, but it has engaged impressively with the world by embracing social media outlets. The saturation of Facebook in Taiwan is particularly remarkable. Taiwan possesses 82 percent more Facebook users than any nation in the world.

Most Taiwanese Facebook users utilize the website for picture sharing and messaging, but the avid use of social media in Taiwan has more important implications than casual communication.

The Internet and digital media influence the size of the global digital divide. This divide refers to the dearth of informational accessibility in developing nations versus the informational abundance of the developed world. 67 percent of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which is comprised primarily of developed nations, have Internet access. Only 3.8 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa has Internet access. The Internet is integral to life in the modern world, in which economic transactions, political ideas and social interactions transpire increasingly via the web.

The prevalence of social media in Taiwan is a testament to its global engagement. The nation’s numerous Facebook users are subsequently gaining access to information they did not have before, communication they could not accomplish before and even business transactions they could not make before. Many Taiwanese companies use Facebook for advertising, knowing it will be seen by thousands of users.

While Taiwan’s enthusiasm for Facebook and other social media outlets may seem trivial, it is proof of the global integration that indicates development. Legislation such as the Digital GAP Act has been crafted with the intention of addressing the global digital divide, so that developing nations may gain the advantage of the Internet. Taiwan is already reaping the benefits of the web and making its way to developed status. That’s worth a “like.”

Mary Efird

Photo: Flickr

Hunger in TaiwanHunger in Taiwan is addressed by the current welfare system in place. The Taiwanese government is not only helping its own people, it is also committed to becoming an international leader in feeding the hungry worldwide.

The welfare system in Taiwan is a contributing factor for the decline of hunger in Taiwan. Different welfare programs are distributed to help those in specific age groups. For example, welfare for children and youth is designed to give homeless kids day-care centers so they can be helped and provided for. It also provides school dropouts with study opportunities and enforces parental responsibility.

A similar system is in place for the elderly. The government provides “benevolent homes” to help homeless people over the age of 70, providing them with food and shelter. It is not uncommon for adults to receive welfare aid as well.

The welfare system is in place for those under the poverty line, yet only 2-3 percent of the population is considered for monthly welfare help. Although the Taiwanese government is doing what it can to provide help to the families that need it, they do not want the population to depend on welfare.

The government wants more family intervention and assistance to help each other in need. The local non-profit organization, Taiwan Fund for Children and Families, assists those who are just over the poverty line.

The government also wants to help reduce world hunger. The Taiwanese government has committed to donate 300,000 tons of rice to 33 different countries. Over 17,300 tons of rice has been distributed in 2016. This commitment to feed hungry people in the world has gotten the Taiwanese government praise from African nations.

The organization, Food for the Poor, has also praised Taiwan for its continued contributions. According to Food for the Poor, Taiwan has provided food for tens of thousands of people around the world.

By providing assistance to residents in need, as well as others around the world, Taiwan has proven its commitment to ending hunger worldwide. It stands as a good example for handling hunger domestically and abroad.

Daniel Borjas

Photo: Flickr

Education in TaiwanAlthough Taiwan produces some of the most accomplished students in the world, its educational system is not without shortcomings. Education in Taiwan continues to be a subject of discourse; these nine facts can help you better understand the situation.

  1. Tensions over statehood manifest at every level of education in Taiwan. Because Taiwan is officially known as the Republic of China, the central educational authority in Taiwan is the Ministry of Education of the Republic of China.
  2. The education system is run by the Ministry of Education in Taiwan. It consists of basic elementary education, junior high school and senior secondary education.
  3. The official language of instruction is Mandarin Chinese.
  4. The literacy rate among Taiwanese people age 15 and above was 98.5 percent as of 2014.
  5. Compared to the rest of the world, students who graduate from the educational system in Taiwan achieve some of the highest scores on an international level. Comparatively, these students excel in mathematics and science. However, it has been proposed that there is too far great a focus on memorization in the educational system and a lack of creative instruction.
  6. Taiwan has a testing-oriented education system, which also poses several issues. Standardized test results have recently demonstrated the shortcomings of this system. In 2006, only 4.7 percent of Taiwan students were reading at the highest level, according to the Program for International Student Assessment. The studies suggest that students are without the ability to read or think critically.
  7. In 2014, the Ministry of Education implemented reforms that included adding three years of compulsory education in secondary schools. This was in response to the aforementioned criticisms of the previous system.
  8. The reforms included “exam-free” pathways to secondary schools, a less restrictive curriculum, subsidies for students from disadvantaged homes and making arts education available to all students, among others.
  9. Population decline poses a real threat to the Taiwan’s higher education sector. By 2023, the number of predicted student enrollments in higher education is projected to drop by a third. This will also have implications for the higher education sector of Taiwan in the globalized education market.

Education in Taiwan continues to progress, especially towards targeting areas that it is less proficient in. With the added focus on reading, arts and creativity, along with less pressure to score high on exams, Taiwan is working to ensure that its educational system meets the needs of all its students.

Melanie Snyder

Photo: Flickr

sustainable developmentOn September 15, Taiwan released its first Voluntary National Review at a forum meeting in New York. Taiwan has been working toward meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals despite it not being a U.N. member.

The government of Taiwan has been actively establishing partnerships in agriculture, public health, education, environmentalism and information and communications technology. These partnerships have allowed Taiwan to advance its development in the areas of poverty, education, hunger, health and gender equality.

Additionally, Taiwan has an active recycling system, which has been introduced in Romania, where it is also being implemented. This system allows for the recycling of polyethylene terephthalate water bottles, benefitting the environment and communities of Taiwan.

Taiwan’s sustainable development efforts have also been working toward eliminating other harmful toxins found in items such as cosmetics. Beginning in January 2018, the nation will be prohibiting the production of cosmetics that contain small plastic particles, and fewer stores will be allowed to offer free plastic bags to customers.

The nation has already been seeing the positive effects of its environmentalist efforts. According to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act, Taiwan’s carbon dioxide emissions are expected to reduce by half of the 2005 volume by 2050. The efforts being made by the Taiwanese government are benefiting the nation’s most vulnerable. By tackling climate change and other environmental issues, Taiwan is protecting its citizens who live off the land.

Additionally, Taiwan is seeking improvements in its healthcare, universal education and women’s political participation, which will provide more resources for the nation’s poor and historically subjugated groups. Working alongside a number of other countries, Taiwan has been successfully fighting diseases including Zika, Ebola and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

If Taiwan’s sustainable development continues to improve, the nation will see an increase in health, educational and employment opportunities and a decrease in poverty and the gender gap, which will put Taiwan on par with major developed countries.

Kassidy Tarala

Photo: Flickr

Taiwan's EconomyAlmost 2 percent of Taiwan’s population constitutes as being poor and is eligible for monthly government assistance. The causes of poverty in Taiwan are myriad, but one key factor is a lack of public investment in social development.

After the Chinese Civil War, Taiwan’s economy flourished. Taiwan’s middle class rose as a result of economic and social investment: the government was investing in its quality of education, availability of infrastructure projects, and small and medium-sized enterprise support to jumpstart new local businesses. Be that as it may, politics and big business are now significantly associated with one another and this intermingling is one of the causes of poverty in Taiwan.

Taiwanese social institutions remain biased for investors, no longer functioning with its people’s best interests in mind. Wages have been stagnant for 16 years; stagnant wages, high property rates and corporate welfare perpetuate poverty despite the growth of technological and scientific development. People living above the poverty line are also struggling to a similar extent.

If someone falls ill or loses their job they become vulnerable to poverty, domestic violence and alcoholism to name a few. In 2011, 357,000 people depended on welfare and at least 700,000 people were making less than the minimum wage. Presidential candidate Eric Chu suggested that the causes of poverty in Taiwan could be combated by gradually raising the minimum wage over four years.

To help struggling children and families, the Taiwan Fund for Children and Families is currently filling the gap by providing necessities such as money, oil, rice and milk to those without the means to access them.

Taiwan’s economy once prevailed because of its export-centered industry. Unfortunately, since 2001, most factories moved from Taiwan to China or Southeast Asia. It is evident that poverty is perpetuated by the government of Taiwan’s inability to invest in its own people, creating a cycle that disallows Taiwan’s locals to invest in their own country.

Tiffany Santos

Photo: Pixabay