Browse the information below for demographic information on Taiwan, including population,
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Population (2003 est): 22.6 million.
Annual growth rate (2003): 0.65% 2003 est
Languages: Mandarin Chinese (official), Taiwanese, Hakka.
Education: Years compulsory--9. Attendance (2001)--99%. Literacy (2003)--96.13 %.
Health: Infant mortality rate (2003)--0.6%. Life expectancy (2003 est.)--male 74.12 yrs.; female 79.88 yrs. .
Work force ( 2003): 10.11 million.
People of Taiwan
Taiwan has a population of 22.6 million. More than 18 million, the "native" Taiwanese are descendants of Chinese who migrated from Fujian and Guangdong Provinces on the mainland, primarily in the 18th and 19th centuries. The "mainlanders," who arrived on Taiwan after 1945, came from all parts of mainland China. About 370,000 aborigines inhabit the mountainous central and eastern parts of the island and are believed to be of Malayo-Polynesian origin.
A 9-year public educational system has been in effect since 1979. Six years of elementary school and 3 years of junior high are compulsory for all children. About 96% of junior high graduates continue their studies in either a senior high or vocational school. The Law of Educational Budget Allocation passed in November 2000 mandates that the educational budget shall not be less than 21.5% of the average of the three previous years. Taiwan has an extensive higher education system with more than 150 institutions of higher learning. Each year over 100,000 students take the joint college entrance exam; about 66.6% of the candidates are admitted to a college or university. Opportunities for graduate education are expanding in Taiwan, but many students travel abroad for advanced education, including 13,000 who study in the United States annually.
A large majority of people on Taiwan speak Mandarin Chinese, which has been the medium of instruction in the schools for more than four decades. Native Taiwanese and many others also speak one of the Southern Fujianese dialects, Min-nan, also known as Taiwanese. Recently there has been a growing use of Taiwanese in the broadcast media. The Hakka, who are concentrated in several counties throughout Taiwan, have their own distinct dialect. As a result of the half century of Japanese rule, many people over age 60 also can speak Japanese. The method of Chinese romanization most commonly used in Taiwan is the Wade-Giles system. In 2002, Taiwan authorities announced adoption of the pinyin system also used on the Mainland to replace the Wade-Giles system.
According to Taiwan's Interior Ministry figures, there are about 11.2 million religious believers in Taiwan, with more than 75% identifying themselves as Buddhists or Taoists. At the same time there is a strong belief in Chinese folk religion throughout the island. These are not mutually exclusive, and many people practice a combination of the three. Confucianism also is an honored school of thought and ethical code. Christian churches have been active on Taiwan for many years, and today the island has more than 600,000 Christians, a majority of whom are Protestant.
Taiwan's culture is a blend of its distinctive Chinese heritage and Western influences. Fine arts, folk traditions, and popular culture embody traditional and modern, Asian, and Western motifs. One of Taiwan's greatest attractions is the Palace Museum, which houses over 650,000 pieces of Chinese bronze, jade, calligraphy, painting, and porcelain. This collection was moved from the mainland in 1949 when Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist Party (KMT) fled to Taiwan. The collection is so extensive that only 1% is on display at any one time.