Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China, is situated in Eastern Asia and is the first constitutional republic in Asia. Taiwan is bordering the East China Sea, Philippine Sea, South China Sea, and Taiwan Strait, north of the Philippines, off the southeastern coast of China. With a total area of 13,974 square miles, Taiwan is slightly smaller than Maryland and Delaware combined, making it the 139th country in the world by land mass. Regarding its population, Taiwan is home to approximately 23.2 million people and has a density of 1,664 inhabitants per square mile. By population, Taiwan is the 51st most populated nation in the world. Taipei is the capital of Taiwan, while New Taipei City is the largest city, with a total population of about 6.8 million people.
Basic History of Taiwan
Taiwan’s history is partitioned between China and Japan. From 1895 until the World War II, Taiwan was ceded to Japan after the Qing dynasty from China was military defeated. After the World War II, Taiwan came under Chinese rule. Subsequently the communists invaded the Asian continent; about two million nationalists ran in Taiwan and installed a government in accordance to the 1947 Constitution of China. The whole process of democratization and incorporation of the local population within the governing structure started in the 1950’s and expanded rapidly in the 1980’s. In 2000, Taiwan had its first transfer of power: the Nationalists ceded it to the Democratic Progressive Party. Nevertheless, Taiwan’s most problematic diplomatic relation is with China especially because of Taiwan’s eventual status, as well as domestic political and economic reform.
Geography of Taiwan
Located strategically in Southeast Asia, adjacent to both the Taiwan Strait and the Luzon Strait, Taiwan has a total surface of 13,974 square miles, making it the 139th world’s largest country. Taiwan consists of the four main archipelagos of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and some minor islands. The whole country is divided into two diminished provinces – Taiwan Province and Fujian Province -, and five special municipalities: Kaohsiung, New Taipei, Taichung, Tainan and Taipei. The climate in Taiwan is tropical and marine, with a rainy season during southwest monsoon, from June to August. On the other hand, cloudiness is persistent and extensive all year long. Two/thirds of eastern Taiwan consists mostly of rugged mountains, with flat to gently rolling plains in west. The lowest point in Taiwan is South China Sea, while the highest peak is Yu Shan, with 12,966 feet. Due to its location, Taiwan is a victim of natural hazards such as earthquakes, typhoons and volcanoes. Kueishantao Island (1,316 feet), east of Taiwan, is its only historically active volcano, although it has not erupted in centuries. Other current issues in Taiwan are related to environmental problems: water pollution from industrial emissions, contamination of drinking water supplies, air pollution, raw sewage, low-level radioactive waste disposal, and trade in endangered species.
Population of Taiwan
Taiwan has a total population of 23,299,716 million people and a density of 1,664 people per square mile, according to a July 2013 estimate provided by CIA World Factbook. By population, Taiwan is the 51st most populated state on Earth. As of 2013, Taiwan’s population growth is of 0.27%. Life expectancy at birth of the total population is of 79.71 years, 76.58 years for males and 83.06 years for females. Birthrate is of 8.61 births/1,000 population, death rate is of 6.83 deaths/1,000 population and sex ratio of the total population is of 1 male(s)/female. As stated by the Government of the Republic of China in its projections, the population will reach approximately 23,614 million people in 2020.
Largest city in Taiwan
Taipei is the capital of Taiwan, while New Taipei City, with a population of 3,893,740 million people and a surface of 792.5004 square miles, is the largest city. Meaning “new north city”, New Taipei City is followed by another large city in Taiwan: Kaohsiung, with 2,773,855 million people. The next largest cities in Taiwan are Taichung, with 2,662,770 million people, the capital Taipei, with 2,647,122 million people, and Tainan, with 1,876,706 million people.
Ethnicity in Taiwan
The dominant ethnic group in Taiwan is Taiwanese, including Hakka, which accounts for 84% of the total population. 14% of the people of Taiwan are mainland Chinese, while 2% are indigenous. On the other hand, other numbers show that 98% of Taiwan’s population is of Han Chinese ethnicity, which includes the Hoklo people (70% of the total population) and the Hakka people (15% of the total population). The 2% indigenous inhabitants are Taiwanese aborigines, divided into 14 major groups: the Ami, Atayal, Bunun, Kavalan, Paiwan, Puyuma, Rukai, Saisiyat, Sakizaya, Sediq, Thao, Truku, Tsou, and Yami.
Religion in Taiwan
The official and dominant religion in Taiwan is a mixture of Buddhist and Taoist, practiced by 93% of the total population. 4.5% of the Taiwanese are Christians, while 2.5% are of other religions. According to a 2005 census, 81.3% (18,718,600 million people) of the total population of Taiwan is religious, while the 14-18% remaining is not religious. The Republic of China recognizes 26 religions of which the five largest are Buddhism, Taoism, I-Kuan Tao, Protestantism, and Roman Catholicism. Some say that there is a religious revolution in China.
Language in Taiwan
Mandarin Chinese is the official language in Taiwan, spoken by approximately 70% of the population. Other languages used in Taiwan are Taiwanese (Min), the Hakka dialects and the Formosan languages, Taiwan’s indigenous languages. Overall, there are 14 extant languages in Taiwan, of which five are considered almost extinct.
Economy in Taiwan
With a capitalist economy based on agriculture, industry and services, Taiwan’s GDP in 2012 was of $901.9 billion, which makes it the 20th most developed economy in the world. The real growth rate was of 1.3% in 2012, of 4% in 2012, and of 10.7% in 2010. The growth fell to 1.3% in 2012 because of softening global demand. The GDP per capita is of $38,500. Still, 1.5% of the total population lives below World Bank’s poverty line. Being an isolated country of a disputable sovereignty, Taiwan’s major long term challenges remain low birth rate, and rapidly aging population. Even though having a closer relationship with the mainland would bring greater opportunities for the Taiwan economy, it would also mean an economic dependence on China while political differences remain unresolved.
Please visit us again soon for more demographic data as well as a projected 2014 population of Taiwan and a current religious map.
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