2 Apr 2010

Taiwan may pay people to have children

8:11 pm on 2 April 2010

The Taiwanese government may start paying people to have children in order to boost Taiwan's dwindling birthrate, one of the lowest in the world.

Quoting the AFP news agency, the ABC reports that among the proposals being considered is a monthly subsidy of 5000 Taiwan dollars ($220) for all children under the age of three.

Taiwan's authorities have been offering various incentives to encourage births, amid growing concerns that a severe labour shortage will trigger serious social and economic problems.

Last month the interior ministry kicked off an online contest for a slogan that would "make everybody want to have children" with a cash prize of a million Taiwan dollars for the winner; the response was overwhelming.

The island nation's official birthrate stood at 8.29 per 1000 people; according to the United Nations, the global average is more than 20 births per 1000 people.

Lao Song Elementary School in Taipei - which set a world record in 1966 as the school with the most pupils, 11,000 - now has only 778, the China Times newspaper reports.