Family Matters

Getting Paid to Procreate in Taiwan: Is $640 Enough?

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In China, overpopulation has led to a one-child rule for many couples. Its neighbor, Taiwan, has the opposite problem: Its birthrate dropped to a record low last year. With less than 20,000 babies born, moms and dads will soon get paid to procreate.

Starting next year, the Taiwanese government will pay couples 20,000 New Taiwanese Dollars — about $640— for each new citizen they produce.

Officials aren’t stopping there; they are also considering the possibility of subsidizing fertility treatments to encourage would-be parents to make more babies. Top brass in the Interior Ministry are mulling a plan to offer annual subsidies of up to $4,800 to offset fertility treatments, reports Agence France-Presse, citing Taipei’s Apple Daily. (More on 5 Pregnancy Taboos Explained (or Debunked))

The government is slated to vote on the proposal — which is anticipated to yield 3,000 babies a year — later this month. Last year, 191,310 babies were born in Taiwan, which amounted to a 3.74% drop from the year before.  It may not sound like much, but it’s got the government atwitter because of the discrepancy between the average Taiwanese birthrate — 1.03 for a couple — and the population replacement rate, which is 2.1. Too few babies now means too few workers down the road. (To make child-rearing even more appealing, Taiwan already offers a babysitting subsidy. Apparently, it is not doing the trick.)

The unique approach to baby-making may turn out to be little more than a nice, if superficial, gesture. Diapers alone in the first year can tally $600, and in-vitro fertilization can top $15,000 — at least in the U.S.

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