Old-age dependency rates:
In 2010 Chinese Taipei is one of five ageing Asian economies (with
Hong Kong-China, Singapore, Korea and Japan). Projections for all these
economies expect old-age dependency rates to be comprised between 63%
and 80% in 2050, much more than the average level of 51% for 30 OECD
countries, and close to double that of the average level for 14 Asian
economies (42%). Consequently, issues related to pensions, elderly care
and senior employment are likely to become urgent policy issues in these
Unemployment: Chinese Taipei is one of three Asian economies (along with Malaysia and Indonesia) with unemployment rates for men on the rise since 2000 (3.4% in 2000 and 4% in 2007). The same can be said for women, for whom unemployment rates have gone from 2.4% in 2000 to 3.7% in 2007. As with other Asian and OECD economies, these levels are expected to worsen in 2009-2010 as the global economic crisis takes its toll.
The highest 10% of the population on the income scale have more than a quarter of the total of Chinese Taipei’s income (26.7%), while the share of the lowest 10% is under 1% (0.8%). This difference makes Chinese Taipei a more unequal economy than 28 OECD countries (respective average shares of 24.2% and 3.1%), but slightly more egalitarian than 13 Asian economies (respective average shares of 29.6% and 2.6%).
Education: In 2005 Chinese Taipei spent 4.3% of its GDP in education, less than the average spent by 30 OECD countries in the same year (5.3%), but more than the average spent by 22 Asian economies (3.4%). This level of spending is reflected in the high net secondary school enrolment rates for 2006 (roughly 95% of boys and girls), the second highest levels after Japan (98.9% and 98.5%) who only spends 3.5% of its GDP on education. Likewise, youth literacy rates for 2007 are 96% for women and close to 100% for men, much higher than the averages for 22 Asian economies.
Health spending: Total expenditure on health for 2006 represented 6.1% of Chinese Taipei’s GDP, in between the averages for 30 OECD countries (8.9%) and for 16 Asian economies (4.6%). 60% of this spending was public, and the remaining 40% were private, roughly the opposite than the average for 16 Asian economies (44.4% public and 54.8% private). Life expectancy was found to be strongly and positively correlated to levels of health expenditure per capita, meaning that the more is spent the longer people are expected to live (78 years and more for high income economies such as Chinese Taipei, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Australia, Japan, and the average for 30 OECD countries).
Fertility rates have been rapidly declining in Chinese Taipei, from 1.68 in 2000 to 1.12 in 2006. This is close to half the average for 22 Asian economies (2.17 for 2006, slightly above the replacement rate), but closer to the average for 30 OECD countries (1.65 for the same year). The mean age of childbearing in Chinese Taipei was 28.1 years in 2006, in between the averages for 30 OECD countries and for 22 Asian economies (respectively 27.5 and 29.6 years).
Alcohol and tobacco:
Alcohol consumption in Chinese Taipei is slightly above the average for 20 Asian economies (respectively 3 and 2.55 litres of alcohol per head in 2001), and well under the average for 30 OECD countries (10 litres of alcohol per head). Concerning tobacco consumption, Chinese Taipei follows the pattern observed for all OECD and Asian economies, whereby the proportion of smokers among men is always greater than among women (close to 40% of adult men were smokers in 2005, versus 5% of adult women).