May 20 is the most popular day for newlyweds to register their marriage, accounting for 4,888 registrations so far this year, statistics released yesterday by the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) showed.
It is customary for Taiwanese to be married on auspicious dates and also pick meaningful dates for registration. In the case of May 20, when the date is read as “five-two-zero,” in Mandarin sounds somewhat like “I love you.”
Other popular dates are Feb. 24, which coincides with Valentine’s Day, with 1,512 registrations; and Jan. 1, symbolizing “a new cycle’s beginnings” and “first to lead,” with 1,125 registrations, according to the ministry.
The ministry’s data showed that the average age of Taiwanese women giving birth to their first child has increased by three years over the past decade, but the number of marriages and births remains on the rebound.
Department of Household Registration Deputy Director Jair Lan-pin (???) said women gave birth at the average age of 30.5 last year, up from 27.4 in 2004.
The data also showed Taiwan’s fertility rate — the number of children women are expected to have in their lifetime — has risen in recent years, from 0.9 in 2010 to 1.17 last year.
A total of 136,935 children were born in the first eight months of this year, about 3.4 percent more than during the same period last year.
About 210,000 children are expected to be born this year, which would be about the same as last year and more than in any year from 2005 to 2013 except for 2012.
A total of 98,000 couples were married in the January to August period, up 2.9 percent from last year and on pace for 150,000 marriages for the year as a whole.
The only other year Taiwan has had at least 150,000 marriages since 2004 was 2011, according to ministry figures.
The upswings in the two categories indicate that the government’s efforts to promote births and marriage have begun to yield positive results, Jair said.
After the number of births set a new low for Taiwan of 166,886 in 2010, the government unveiled various incentives to encourage more births and marriages.
The number of new births rose to 196,627 in 2011 and 229,481 in 2012 before falling back to 199,113 in 2013 and then recovering to 210,383 last year.
Taiwan has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, and its society is rapidly aging.
The National Development Council expects Taiwan to become a super-aged society — defined as 20 percent of the population being aged 65 or older — by 2025.