Taiwan has 260,000 poor families
According to Taiwan’s Children and Family Assistance Foundation, 50% of the families receiving the foundation’s assistance have monthly income of less than the basic per capita monthly income of NT$21,009 and have a monthly average debt obligation of about NT$15,000, driving the vicious cycle of perpetual poverty.
The monthly debt of Taiwan’s disadvantaged family averages NT$15,000, or 60% of the family’s average monthly income, leaving less than NT$10,000 per month for basic living expenses, 48.9% have to repay a monthly debt of NT$10,000 to NT$19,999, 45.5% have to repay a monthly debt of NT$10,000 to NT$14,561, and 5.6% have to repay a monthly debt of over NT$20,000.
Of those families receiving the foundation’s assistance, 50.2% have a monthly income less than the basic per capita salary, 21.5% have a monthly income between NT$15,000 and NT$20,000, 16.5% have a monthly income of less than NT$10,000, and 12.2% have a monthly income of between NT$10,000 and NT$15,000. These are single parent families, families without parents as heads of household, families with parents in poor health.
Taiwan’s social assistance laws are comparatively stricter than many developed countries. The government worries that too many people will rely on social welfare. Thus, many single parent families, families with children raised by grandparents, families with members who are mentally and physically handicapped are not included in the family assistance system.
Children of disadvantaged families cannot continue their education beyond high school because of the financial burden on their families. One fourth of the high school students from disadvantaged families are unable to continue their education beyond high school although 42.7% of them wish they could continue their higher education of they were not constrained by their families’ financial limitations.
The foundation says that from January to July, 2017, donations for scholarships for children from poor and disadvantaged families have dwindled by 33.53% from that in the same period in 2016. One indication is that the amount of monetary gift for the Mid Autumn Festival given to adopted children by their adopted parents has lessened by 15.86% compared to that given out in 2016.