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Things you didn’t know about the people of Taiwan

Imagine stepping into a land where modern skyscrapers touch the sky while ancient temples whisper tales of the past…

Welcome to Taiwan, an island nation that masterfully blends the old with the new!

Here, the urban landscape meets historical depth and natural wonders, but what truly sets Taiwan apart is its people — warm, welcoming, and always ready to share a story or a meal. 

Join us to explore the heart and soul of Taiwan, a place where every corner promises a new adventure and every smile feels like home!

Who are the people of Taiwan?

The indigenous peoples of Taiwan (Austronesian-speaking groups) have lived here for thousands of years. Today, they still make up about 2.5% of the total population in Taiwan (excluding those without official status), with 16 officially recognized ethnic groups.

Since the 17th century, however, the demographic of Taiwanese people has changed drastically due to regional political shifts and the rise of international sea trade. A majority of modern Taiwanese society today is made of the descendants of Chinese immigrants who moved here during the Qing rule (1683~1895), as well as those arriving with the Republic of China (R.O.C.) government in 1949 [you can read more about the History of Taiwan HERE].

Taiwan has also been home to about a million foreign labor workers and spouses in recent decades, who have further diversified the local cuisine, religion, and language composition. As Taiwan evolves more as an immigration society, it is fascinating to see how the future will unfold for the next generation of Taiwanese!

Is Taiwan an aging society?

Speaking of the next generation of Taiwanese, one thing that many discuss these days is the lack of newborn babies in Taiwan. 

Like many neighboring East Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea, the latest data from 2023 in Taiwan showed that the birth rate was 0.865, which was the average number of children that are born to a woman over her lifetime. This trend has led the government to draft many policies in hopes of incentivizing more births, including but not limited to expanding affordable education, increasing childcare subsidies, further reducing school fees, doubling childrearing allowances, and promoting family-friendly employment and workplaces.

On the other hand, the average life expectancy of Taiwanese people has increased in the past 20 years. According to statistics from the Ministry of the Interior, Taiwanese people now live to 76 years for males and 83 years for females. Along with the low birth rate, this means that the percentage of elderly Taiwan is also growing, exceeding 14% of the total population in 2018, and is expected to make Taiwan a Super-Aged Society in 2025, which means that the elderly population is higher than 20%.

Regional differences in Taiwan: North vs. South

Though smaller in size, you might still find many regional quirks and differences while traveling across the island, particularly through its people and local culture. One of these most striking contrasts is between the north and south. 

Northern Taiwan, anchored by the capital city of Taipei, is the bustling heart of Taiwan's political, economic, and cultural life. Taipei's residents are often seen as more cosmopolitan and business-oriented, reflecting the fast-paced urban environment. This region's culture is a blend of modernity and tradition, with high-end shopping districts, cutting-edge tech industries, and vibrant nightlife juxtaposed with historic temples and traditional markets. The locals of Taipei are known for their forward-thinking mindset and sophisticated lifestyle, often seen sipping coffee in chic cafes or discussing the latest global trend, be it social observation or tech, with their friends and colleagues.

In contrast, the southern region, centered around cities such as Tainan and Kaohsiung, offers a more laid-back and tropical vibe. The Southerners in Taiwan are celebrated for their warmth, hospitality, and a more leisurely approach to life. This is a place where traditions are deeply rooted, and the pace of life is slower. Kaohsiung residents, for instance, might enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle, spending an afternoon napping in outdoor parks, coastal areas, and cultural festivals. Meanwhile, Tainan, Taiwan's oldest city, is a living museum of Taiwanese heritage, where locals actively participate in centuries-old religious ceremonies and maintain historic temples with great pride. Many also find that the southern food culture is richer with a heavier taste and a strong emphasis on seafood, reflecting the region’s coastal geography. Nightlife here is mostly found at local eateries where people gather to enjoy food as well as the company of their friends.

No matter if you are an urban traveler, nature lover, or history enthusiast, there is a destination for you in Taiwan!

Interested in exploring Taiwan following the local footsteps, but not sure where to start?

Join our Free Walking Tour, available in every major city in Taiwan!

Like It Formosa tour guides are fully fluent in English and will walk you (literally) through the must-see gems of the city. In less than three hours, you will be able to know the local culture in depth while learning about our history and other urban myths. At the end of the tour, you are also more than welcome to ask the guides for tips, suggestions, or recommendations for food and drinks around the area!

Join us today and learn all about Taiwan during your visit!


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