by Prince Roy
Question by Joker: How’s the quality of life in Taiwan?
Hey guys, I’m Filipino and I was born and raised in the USA. I’ve lived in the Philippines for a couple of years and I don’t really like it because it’s such a poor country. Ever since then, I’ve read NUMEROUS books on economic development. I’ve read books on how Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, etc developed advance economies.
Well, I’m fascinated with Taiwan because I believe its a model the Philippines can follow. According to the CIA Factbook, only 0.95% of the population live below the poverty line. That’s astounding if you ask me. whereas in the Philippines, 40% of the population live below the poverty line (and its clearly visible when you’re there)
So, I’d like to know, how’s your quality of life? Well, to add more details to it, what kind of housing do the majority of the people live in? How’s the quality of it? Is it clean? If you’re from Taiwan, do you live in an apartment? Do you like your apartment?
I know it’s kind of weird but I like looking at pictures of Taipei, Kaohsiung, Tainan, etc. I think those cities look beautiful. Some may laugh and completely disagree but I love urban jungles.
anyways, yep, that’s my question. Thanks guys
Answer by Kaia
In the past 50 years, Taiwan has experienced tremendous economic development. The per capita income increased from about US0 in 1949 to today’s US,200. Citizens here have enjoyed an affluence unprecedented in Chinese history. However, the garbage problem and air and water pollution have become so serious that in 1995 the German magazine Der Spiegel referred to Taiwan as a Schweinestall (“pigsty”). Taiwan’s quality of life in the past decades seems to lag far behind its economic development, and is by no means a miracle. But how is quality to be measured?
Since Taiwan’s first economic plan was carried out in the 1950s, the economy has been gradually transformed from one based on agriculture to one based on technology and manufacturing. By 1987, the ROC’s foreign exchange reserves had exceeded US billion. The gross national product (GNP) reached US4.8 billion in 1997 (See Table II), and was ranked eighteenth in the world. Taiwan’s rapid economic development has brought its society a higher standards of living.
“From indicators like less expenditure on food, shorter working time, and longer life expectancy and more education, one can clearly see Taiwan’s advances,” says Professor Chai Sunglin, founder of the Consumers’ Foundation, a private organization for the protection of consumers’ rights.
“As I know, many people in some underdeveloped nations spend almost 100 percent of their money on food—And they’re still starving. Forty or 50 years ago Taiwan’s people also spent about 75 percent of their money on food, with most of the rest going to pay medical bills. Nowadays, Taiwan’s people spend less than 30 percent on food. This means people here have more to spend on entertainment and cultural activities.”
Life expectancy, according to Chai, is also an important factor to consider when evaluating the improvement of living standards in Taiwan. “Life expectancy in some countries is shorter because of malnutrition and lack of medical facilities, as well as widespread contagious disease. People in Taiwan now enjoy a longer life expectancy than before—It’s increased from about 58 years in 1952 to about 74 today. This indicates that public health in Taiwan is making progress,” says Chai. (See Table III)
“On the average, Taiwan’s people spent three years in school in 1949, and 60 percent of the population was illiterate. Now, the average length of education is 15 years,” says Chai, adding that the literacy rate is over 94 percent. He remembers that when he graduated from elementary school in the mid-1940s, only a half dozen of his classmates (including himself) were able to continue into junior high school. “Now, if people want to study, they have many opportunities to satisfy their wish,” says Chai.
Chai also mentions that the amount of time people spend working is much less in Taiwan than it was. “Before, most people in Taiwan worked all day, every day. If we calculate by the number of hours in a year, people nowadays spend an average of about 25 percent of their time working, and have much more time for recreation.”
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