Taiwan Population: 23,464,787


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First inhabited by Austronesian people, Taiwan became home to Han immigrants beginning in the late Ming Dynasty (17th century). In 1895, military defeat forced China's Qing Dynasty to cede Taiwan to Japan, which governed Taiwan for 50 years. Taiwan came under Chinese Nationalist control after World War II. In the four years leading to the communist victory on the mainland in 1949, 2 million Nationalists fled to Taiwan and established a government under the 1947 constitution drawn up for all of China. The Nationalist government established authoritarian rule under martial law in 1948. Beginning in the late 1970s, the ruling authorities gradually democratized and incorporated the local population within the governing structure. This process expanded rapidly in the 1980s, with the founding of the first opposition party (the Democratic Progressive Party or DPP) in 1986 and the lifting of martial law in 1987. Taiwan held its first direct presidential election in 1996. In 2000, Taiwan underwent its first peaceful transfer of power from the Nationalist Party (Kuomintang or KMT) to the DPP. Throughout this period, the island prospered and became one of East Asia's economic "Tigers." The dominant political issues continue to be management of sensitive relations between Taiwan and China - specifically the question of Taiwan's sovereignty - as well as domestic priorities for economic reform and growth.

Strategic location adjacent to both the Taiwan Strait and the Luzon Strait
Location: Eastern Asia, islands bordering the East China Sea, Philippine Sea, South China Sea, and Taiwan Strait, north of the Philippines, off the southeastern coast of China
Geographic coordinates: 23 30 N, 121 00 E
Area: total: 35,980 sq km
land: 32,260 sq km
water: 3,720 sq km

note: includes the Pescadores, Matsu, and Quemoy islands

Size comparison: slightly smaller than Maryland and Delaware combined
Land Boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 1,566.3 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; marine; rainy season during southwest monsoon (June to August); persistent and extensive cloudiness all year
Terrain: eastern two-thirds mostly rugged mountains; flat to gently rolling plains in west
Elevation extremes:
Natural resources: small deposits of coal, natural gas, limestone, marble, asbestos, arable land
Land use: agricultural land: 22.7% arable land 16.9%; permanent crops 5.8%; permanent pasture NA forest: NA
other: 77.3% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: 3,820 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards: earthquakes; typhoons volcanism: Kueishantao Island (elev. 401 m), east of Taiwan, is its only historically active volcano, although it has not erupted in centuries
Current Environment Issues: air pollution; water pollution from industrial emissions, raw sewage; contamination of drinking water supplies; trade in endangered species; low-level radioactive waste disposal
International Environment Agreements: party to: none of the selected agreements because of Taiwan's international status
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Nationality: noun: Taiwan (singular and plural) note: example - he or she is from Taiwan; they are from Taiwan
adjective: Taiwan (or Taiwanese)
Ethnic groups: Taiwanese (including Hakka) 84%, mainland Chinese 14%, indigenous 2%
Languages: Mandarin Chinese (official), Taiwanese (Min), Hakka dialects
Religions: mixture of Buddhist and Taoist 93%, Christian 4.5%, other 2.5%
Population: 23,464,787 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 13.13% (male 1,588,679/female 1,493,419)
15-24 years: 13.17% (male 1,585,222/female 1,505,004)
25-54 years: 46.74% (male 5,477,446/female 5,490,829)
55-64 years: 13.89% (male 1,593,024/female 1,665,354)
65 years and over: 13.07% (male 1,408,367/female 1,657,443) (2016 est.)
Median age: total: 40.2 years
male: 39.5 years
female: 40.9 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.2% (2016 est.)
Birth rate: 8.4 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate: 7.3 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate: 0.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Major urban areas - population: TAIPEI (capital) 2.666 million; Kaohsiung 1.523 million; Taichung 1.225 million; Tainan 815,000 (2015)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 4.4 deaths/1,000 live births male: 4.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 80.1 years male: 77 years
female: 83.5 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.12 children born/woman (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98.5%
male: 99.7%
female: 97.3% (2014 est.)
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Country name: conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Taiwan
local long form: none
local short form: Taiwan
former: Formosa
etymology: "Tayowan" was the name of the coastal sandbank where the Dutch erected their colonial headquarters on the island in the 17th century; the former name "Formosa" means "beautiful" in Portuguese
Government type: semi-presidential republic
Capital: name: Taipei
geographic coordinates: 25 02 N, 121 31 E
time difference: UTC+8 (13 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: includes main island of Taiwan plus smaller islands nearby and off coast of China's Fujian Province; Taiwan is divided into 13 counties (xian, singular and plural), 3 cities (shi, singular and plural), and 6 special municipalities directly under the jurisdiction of the Executive Yuan counties: Changhua, Chiayi, Hsinchu, Hualien, Kinmen, Lienchiang, Miaoli, Nantou, Penghu, Pingtung, Taitung, Yilan, Yunlin cities: Chiayi, Hsinchu, Keelung special municipalities: Kaohsiung (city), New Taipei (city), Taichung (city), Tainan (city), Taipei (city), Taoyuan (city)

note: Taiwan uses a variety of romanization systems; while a modified Wade-Giles system still dominates, the city of Taipei has adopted a Pinyin romanization for street and place names within its boundaries; other local authorities use different romanization systems
National holiday: Republic Day (Anniversary of the Chinese Revolution), 10 October (1911)
Constitution: previous 1912, 1931; latest adopted 25 December 1946, promulgated 1 January 1947, effective 25 December 1947; revised several times, last in 2005 (2016)
Legal system: civil law system
Suffrage: 20 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President TSAI Ing-wen (since 20 May 2016); Vice President CHEN Chien-jen (since 20 May 2016)

head of government: Premier LIN Chuan (President of the Executive Yuan) (since 20 May 2016); Vice Premier LIN Hsi-yao, Vice President of the Executive Yuan (since 20 May 2016)

cabinet: Executive Yuan - ministers appointed by president on recommendation of premier elections/appointments: president and vice president directly elected on the same ballot by simple majority popular vote for a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 16 January 2016 (next to be held in 2020); premier appointed by the president; vice premiers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the premier

election results: TSAI Ing-wen elected president; percent of vote - TSAI Ing-wen (DPP) 56.1%, Eric CHU Li-lun (KMT) 31.0%, James SOONG Chu-yu (PFP) 12.8%; note - TSAI is the first woman elected president of Taiwan
Legislative branch: description: unicameral Legislative Yuan (113 seats; 73 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote, 34 directly elected in a single islandwide constituency by proportional representation vote, and 6 directly elected in multi-seat aboriginal constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: Legislative Yuan - last held on 16 January 2016 (next to be held in January 2020)

election results: Legislative Yuan - percent of vote by party - DPP 44.1%, KMT 26.9%, PFP 6.5%, NPP 6.1%, other 16.4%; seats by party - DPP 68, KMT 35, NPP 5, PFP 3, NPSU 1, independent 1
Judicial branch: highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the court president, vice president, and approximately 100 judges organized into 8 civil and 12 criminal divisions, each with a division chief justice and 4 associate justices); Constitutional Court (consists of the court president, vice president, and 13 justices) judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court justices appointed by the president; Constitutional Court justices appointed by the president with approval of the Legislative Yuan; Supreme Court justices appointed for life; Constitutional Court justices appointed for 8-year terms with half the membership renewed every 4 years

subordinate courts: high courts; district courts; hierarchy of administrative courts
Political parties and leaders: Democratic Progressive Party or DPP [TSAI Ing-wen] Kuomintang or KMT (Nationalist Party) [HUNG Hsiu-chu] New Power Party or NPP [HUANG Kuo-chang] Non-Partisan Solidarity Union or NPSU [LIN Pin-kuan] People First Party or PFP [James SOONG Chu-yu] Taiwan Solidarity Union or TSU [HUANG Kun-huei]
Political pressure groups and leaders: other: environmental groups; independence movement; various business groups note: public opinion polls consistently show most Taiwanese support maintaining Taiwan's status quo; advocates of Taiwan independence oppose unification with mainland China; most advocates of eventual unification predicate their goal on the democratic transformation of the mainland
International organization participation: ADB (Taipei, China), APEC (Chinese Taipei), BCIE, ICC (national committees), IOC, ITUC (NGOs), SICA (observer), WTO (Taipei, China)
National symbol(s): white, 12-rayed sun on blue field; national colors: blue, white, red
National anthem: name: "Zhonghua Minguo guoge" (National Anthem of the Republic of China)
lyrics/music: HU Han-min, TAI Chi-t'ao, and LIAO Chung-k'ai/CHENG Mao-Yun

note: adopted 1930; also the song of the Kuomintang Party; it is informally known as "San Min Chu I" or "San Min Zhu Yi" (Three Principles of the People); because of political pressure from China, "Guo Qi Ge" (National Banner Song) is used at international events rather than the official anthem of Taiwan; the "National Banner Song" has gained popularity in Taiwan and is commonly used during flag raisings
Diplomatic representation in the US: none; commercial and cultural relations with the people in the United States are maintained through an unofficial instrumentality, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO), a private nonprofit corporation that performs citizen and consular services similar to those at diplomatic posts representative: KAO Shuo-tai (a.k.a. Stanley KAO) (since 5 June 2016) office: 4201 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016
telephone: [1] 202 895-1800 Taipei Economic and Cultural Offices (branch offices): Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver (CO), Hagatna (Guam), Houston, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Seattle
Diplomatic representation from the US: none; commercial and cultural relations with the people on Taiwan are maintained through an unofficial instrumentality, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), a private nonprofit corporation that performs citizen and consular services similar to those at diplomatic posts office:
telephone: [1] [886] (02) 2162-2000
FAX: [1] [886] (02) 2162-2251 other offices: Kaohsiung (Branch Office)
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Taiwan has a dynamic capitalist economy with gradually decreasing government guidance on investment and foreign trade. Exports, led by electronics, machinery, and petrochemicals have provided the primary impetus for economic development. This heavy dependence on exports exposes the economy to fluctuations in world demand. Taiwan's diplomatic isolation, low birth rate, and rapidly aging population are other major long-term challenges. Free trade agreements have proliferated in East Asia over the past several years. Following the landmark Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed with China in June 2010, Taiwan in July 2013 signed a free trade deal with New Zealand - Taipei’s first-ever with a country with which it does not maintain diplomatic relations - and, in November, inked a trade pact with Singapore. However, follow-on components of the ECFA, including a signed agreement on trade in services and negotiations on trade in goods and dispute resolution, have stalled. In early 2014, the government bowed to public demand and proposed a new law governing the oversight of cross-Strait agreements, before any additional deals with China are implemented; the legislature has yet to vote on such legislation, leaving the future of ECFA up in the air as of the conclusion of President MA's second and final term in May 2016. MA portrayed ECFA as Taiwan’s key to greater participation in East Asia’s free trade networks, and has also expressed interest in Taiwan joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Taiwan's total fertility rate of just over one child per woman is among the lowest in the world, raising the prospect of future labor shortages, falling domestic demand, and declining tax revenues. Taiwan's population is aging quickly, with the number of people over 65 expected to account for nearly 20% of the island's total population by 2025. The island runs a trade surplus, largely because of its surplus with China, and its foreign reserves are the world's fifth largest, behind those of China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Switzerland. In 2006 China overtook the US to become Taiwan's second-largest source of imports after Japan. China is also the island's number one destination for foreign direct investment. Taiwan since 2009 has gradually loosened rules governing Chinese investment on the island and has also secured greater market access for its investors in the mainland. In August 2012, the Taiwan Central Bank signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on cross-Strait currency settlement with its Chinese counterpart. The MOU allows for the direct settlement of Chinese Renminbi (RMB) and the New Taiwan Dollar across the Strait, which has helped Taiwan develop into a local RMB hub. Closer economic links with the mainland bring opportunities for Taiwan’s economy but also pose challenges as political differences remain unresolved and China’s economic growth is slowing. Domestic economic issues loomed large in public debate ahead of the 16 January 2016 presidential and legislative elections, including concerns about stagnant wages, high housing prices, youth unemployment, job security, and financial security in retirement.
GDP (purchasing power parity): GDP (purchasing power parity): $1.125 trillion (2016 est.) $1.115 trillion (2015 est.) $1.107 trillion (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $519.1 billion (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 1% (2016 est.) 0.6% (2015 est.) 3.9% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): GDP - per capita (PPP): $47,800 (2016 est.) $47,400 (2015 est.) $47,300 (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars
Gross national saving: 35.7% of GDP (2016 est.) 36.5% of GDP (2015 est.) 34.5% of GDP (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 52.7%
government consumption: 14.3%
investment in fixed capital: 20.6%
investment in inventories: 0.1%
exports of goods and services: 62.2%
imports of goods and services: -49.9% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of origin: household consumption: 52.7%
government consumption: 14.3%
investment in fixed capital: 20.6%
investment in inventories: 0.1%
exports of goods and services: 62.2%
imports of goods and services: -49.9% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - products: rice, vegetables, fruit, tea, flowers; pigs, poultry; fish
Industries: electronics, communications and information technology products, petroleum refining, chemicals, textiles, iron and steel, machinery, cement, food processing, vehicles, consumer products, pharmaceuticals
Industrial production growth rate: 0.5% (2016 est.)
Labor force: 11.68 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 5%
industry: 36%
services: 59% (2015 est.)
Unemployment rate: 3.9% (2016 est.) 3.8% (2015 est.)
Population below poverty line: 1.5% (2012 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 6.4%
highest 10%: 40.3% (2010)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 33.6 (2014) 32.6 (2000)
Budget: revenues: $80.8 billion
expenditures: $83.95 billion (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 15.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
Public debt: 32.7% of GDP (2016 est.) 32.7% of GDP (2015 est.)

note: data for central government
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.3% (2016 est.) -0.3% (2015 est.)
Current account balance: $77.9 billion (2016 est.) $76.17 billion (2015 est.)
Exports: $314.8 billion (2016 est.) $335.5 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commodities: semiconductors, petrochemicals, automobile/auto parts, ships, wireless communication equipment, flat display displays, steel, electronics, plastics, computers
Exports - partners: China 27.1%, Hong Kong 13.2%, US 10.3%, Japan 6.4%, Singapore 4.4% (2012 est.)
Imports: $248.7 billion (2016 est.) $262.9 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commodities: oil/petroleum, semiconductors, natural gas, coal, steel, computers, wireless communication equipment, automobiles, fine chemicals, textiles
Imports - partners: Japan 17.6%, China 16.1%, US 9.5% (2012 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $456.9 billion (31 December 2016 est.) $430.7 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Debt - external: $155.4 billion (31 December 2016 est.) $159 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $74.64 billion (31 December 2016 est.) $72.34 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $346.9 billion (31 December 2016 est.) $336.1 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $741.1 billion (31 December 2015) $847.8 billion (31 December 2014) $818.7 billion (31 December 2013)
Exchange rates: New Taiwan dollars (TWD) per US dollar - 32.85 (2016 est.) 31.911 (2015 est.) 31.911 (2014 est.) 30.363 (2013 est.) 29.62 (2012 est.)
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Electricity - production: 258 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 249.5 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 54 million kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 75.6% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 10.6% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 5.4% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 8.4% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)
Crude oil - production: 196 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 841,300 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 10.06 million bbl (1 January 2016 es)
Refined petroleum products - production: 1.299 million bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 818,700 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 352,600 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 363,100 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Natural gas - production: 1.294 billion cu m (2015 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 17.79 billion cu m (2015 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2015 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 17.94 billion cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 6.229 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 26.69 million Mt (2014 est.)
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Cellular Phones in use: total: 29.681 million subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 127 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: provides telecommunications service for every business and private need

domestic: thoroughly modern; completely digitalized

international: country code - 886; roughly 15 submarine fiber cables provide links throughout Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Europe, and the US; satellite earth stations - 2 (2015)
Broadcast media: 5 nationwide television networks operating roughly 75 TV stations; about 85% of households utilize multi-channel cable TV; national and regional radio networks with about 170 radio stations (2008)
Internet country code: .tw
Internet users: total: 20.601 million percent of population: 88% (July 2015 est.)
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Airports: 37 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 35
over 3,047 m: 8
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 10
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 2 (2013)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2013)
Heliports: 31 (2013)
Pipelines: condensate 25 km; gas 802 km; oil 241 km (2013)
Railways: total 1,597 km
standard gauge: 345 km 1.435-m gauge (345 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 1,102 km 1.067-m gauge (692 km electrified); 150 km 0.762-m gauge

note: the 0.762-gauge track belongs to three entities: the Forestry Bureau, Taiwan Cement, and TaiPower (2014)
Roadways: total 42,520 km
paved: 42,078 km (includes 1,348 km of highways and 737 km of expressways)
unpaved: 442 km (2013)
Merchant marine: total 112

by type: bulk carrier 35, cargo 20, chemical tanker 1, container 31, passenger/cargo 4, petroleum tanker 12, refrigerated cargo 7, roll on/roll off 2

foreign-owned: 3 (France 2, Vietnam 1)

registered in other countries: 579 (Argentina 2, Cambodia 1, Honduras 1, Hong Kong 25, Indonesia 1, Italy 10, Kiribati 2, Liberia 94, Marshall Islands 8, Panama 328, Philippines 1, Sierra Leone 7, Singapore 77, South Korea 1, Thailand 1, UK 11, Vanuatu 1, unknown 8) (2010)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Chilung (Keelung), Kaohsiung, Hualian, Taichung container port(s) (TEUs): Chilung (Keelung) (1,749,388), Kaohsiung (9,363,289), Taichung (1,383,578) LNG terminal (import): Yung An (Kaohsiung), Taichung
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Military branches: Army, Navy (includes Marine Corps), Air Force, Military Police Command, Armed Forces Reserve Command, Coast Guard Administration (2016)
Military service age and obligation: starting with those born in 1994, males 18-36 years of age may volunteer for military service or must complete 4 months of compulsory military training (or substitute civil service in some cases); women may enlist; women in Air Force service are restricted to noncombat roles; for men born before December 1993, compulsory service (military or civil) is 1 year; for 8 years after discharge, men are subject to training recall four times for periods not to exceed 20 days (2016)
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: involved in complex dispute with Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam over the Spratly Islands, and with China and the Philippines over Scarborough Reef; the 2002 "Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea" has eased tensions but falls short of a legally binding "code of conduct" desired by several of the disputants; Paracel Islands are occupied by China, but claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam; in 2003, China and Taiwan became more vocal in rejecting both Japan's claims to the uninhabited islands of the Senkaku-shoto (Diaoyu Tai) and Japan's unilaterally declared exclusive economic zone in the East China Sea where all parties engage in hydrocarbon prospecting
Illicit drugs: regional transit point for heroin, methamphetamine, and precursor chemicals; transshipment point for drugs to Japan; major problem with domestic consumption of methamphetamine and heroin; rising problems with use of ketamine and club drugs
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