The Taiwanese Ministry of the Interior estimated that the population of Taiwan in 2012 was 23,268,087. This makes Taiwan the 50th largest country in the world in terms of population, and the 16th most densely populated country in the world.
A census is carried out every ten years. The last census was held in 2010, and an official population of 23,162,000 was recorded. The Government’s 2012 population estimate was made by taking census data and, taking account population growth and a number of other factors, extrapolating into the future.
The People’s Republic of China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, and as you can see from our article about the population of China, data on Taiwan’s population is included in official Government figures there too.
Most populous cities in Taiwan
Taiwan’s largest city is New Taipei, which is home to 3,903,745 people. New Taipei should definitely not be confused with Taipei City, the capital of Taiwan. Taipei City is entirely surrounded by the city of New Taipei and has a population of 2,635,766, making it Taiwan’s fourth largest city. Together with the city of Keelung, they make up the Taipei Metropolitan Area, which has a total population of 6.9 million.
Other major cities in Taiwan are Kaohsiung City (pop 2,772,461), Taichung City (pop 2,655,456) and Tainan City (pop 1,874,724). No other Taiwanese city has a population of more than 500,000 people.
Demographics of Taiwan
The vast majority (98%) of people living on Taiwan are Han Chinese, including around 12% of the population who are classified as Waishengren – people who fled from mainland China after the Chinese Civil War (and their descendants). The remaining two percent are Taiwanese Aborigines, descendants of the Austronesian peoples who dominated Taiwan until the 17th century. Visit wikipedia to read more about Taiwan’s indigenous people.
Taiwan Population Density
Taiwan has a geographical area of 35,980 km². With a population of 23,268,087, it’s average population density is 642/km2 (1,664/miles2). This makes it the 16th most densely populated country in the world. Population density in major cities is, as expected, much higher. In Taipei, 9,600 people live in every square kilometer.
Taiwan Population Growth
Population growth in Taiwan was at its highest in the mid-20th century as supporters of the defeated Kuomintang fled mainland China, but it has been steadily declining since. The birth rate in Taiwan is now below the rate needed to sustain population growth and current growth is caused by increased longevity. The latest estimates indicate that Taiwan’s population will peak at 23.4 million in the next ten years and then gradually begin to decline.
Languages of Taiwan
Mandarin is spoken by almost all Taiwanese, and is the country’s official language. Japanese is also spoken by many older Taiwanese, a legacy of Japanese rule in the first half of the 20th century. A number of aboriginal languages are also spoken although, despite efforts to presrve them, their use is decreasing.
Religion in Taiwan
Religious freedom is constitutionally guaranteed in Taiwan and the country is host to a diverse range of relgions – 26 in total are officially recognised, but people are free to follow other religions if they choose. Government statistics show that Buddhisim is the most popular religion, practised by around 35.1% of Taiwanese, followed closely by Taoism (33.0%). Christianity and Yiguandao are the third and fourth most popular relgions, followed by 3.9% and 3.5% respectively. Approximately 18.7% of Taiwanese are non-religious.
Taiwan’s economy is growing rapidly. Although data for Taiwan’s GDP in 2012 is not yet available, it’s GDP grew by more than 10% in 2010 and its nominal GDP per capita was $18,300. Translated into PPP, this equates to $34,700, placing the economy of Taiwan 21st in the world.