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