Lydia from Taipei and almost all of her friends are single. Sociologist Wen-Shan Yang taiwan singles why Taiwan’s single culture is putting the welfare of the whole country at risk. COM has chosen English as your language setting. Whether you’re in a relationship or not – that’s your own business, right?
Well, true, but in Taiwan, it’s something in which both researchers and the government are very interested. Taiwan’s growing single culture means that fewer people are marrying early enough to have children. And as a result, demographers estimate that by 2035 Taiwan will be the world’s oldest society. That would lead to a huge increase in the number of nursing homes needed, but not enough people working to pay for pensions and health care. It’s such a big concern for the Taiwanese government, that it hosts parties for single people looking for love – although there is very little success.
Wen-Shan Yang is a sociologist studying Taiwan’s ageing society at the Academia Sinica in Taipei. Our reporter Gönna Ketels met with him to find out why so many Taiwanese people are choosing to remain single – and what could convince them to opt for a relationship and children. Why are there so many single people in Taiwan? One reason is the expansion of higher education, there are more women in universities and colleges. After that, they go into the job market and they work on their career.
So they delay marriage further and further. It isn’t like before: Marriage used to be a fulfilment, but now it has become a risk. Your career, all your life becomes a risk, and people want to avoid this risk. People have more choices now – to have a family, to bear children, it’s not a priority anymore. And statistics are not helping. I’m researching sexual imbalances in Taiwan. By year 2020, there will be 500,000 more men than women at a marriageable age.