Many factors affect most countries in the world in the contexts of economy, social, culture, and even development. One of these countries is Taiwan and the geography of most regions of Taiwan has different impacts on it as a nation. Geography of a region in this context refers to the science of dealing with the areal segregation of the earth’s surface as shown in the arrangement, character, and interrelations over the globe of such factors as elevation, climate, vegetation, land use, soil, industries, population, or states of the unit areas. All the above have several and varied impacts on Taiwan as a nation.
This paper aims at coming up with information on Taiwan as a country and how the geography of the region affects Taiwan in all its facets. The paper will also focus on Taiwan’s current social problems and the country’s approach towards these social issues.
In research, information can be from primary or secondary sources. Primary sources of information involve first hand information obtained using interviews, questionnaires, and observation. Secondary information is from books, electronic database, and magazines among other records. In this paper, most of the information was from books.
We now focus on how the geography of the regions affects Taiwan in all its aspects. The geography of Taiwan is the shape of a tobacco leaf with 394 kilometers long and 144 kilometers wide at its broadest point. Taiwan has a mountain range that cut across it from south to north, and almost two thirds of the island is full of forested peaks. The remaining part of the island comprises of terraced flatlands, foothills, basins, and coastal plains. The surface configuration of Taiwan consists of a tilted fault block cutting across northeast to southwest alongside the whole length. The mostly afforested mountains are rich in some minerals such as coal at the northern end. On the east coast, the mountains fall steeply to the Pacific and to the west; there are level sediments just below the surface of the sea. The impact of this structure of mountains is the shallow waters being full of river deposits hence expanding the land surface with about 15 to 30km westward from the foothills.
Another notable geographical feature of Taiwan is the fairly straight and natural shoreline. Along the shoreline, there are coral reefs, which cover a small part of the land especially during the period of Pleistocene. There is the central range of high mountains running from the northeast point of Taiwan to the southern corner. About 32 percent of steep mountain terrain covers Taiwan and is above 1000meters. 31percent of the land above the sea is full of hills and terraces.
According to the 2009, February census the total population of Taiwan is 23million with an annual growth rate of 0.23%. The official and first language of Taiwan is Taiwanese followed by Hakka. In the health aspect, Taiwan’s infant mortality rate as records of 2007 is 0.47 with life expectancy ranging from 75years in males and 81years in females. The population that makes up Taiwan’s work force is 10.96 million, and in the education, system has a compulsory education policy of nine years. The attendance of school as per the 2007 statistics was 99.30% and the literacy level as per 2008 being at 97.78%. In the political arena, Taiwan practices the multi-party democracy using the December 25, 1946 constitution that had amendments in 2005. Branches of the Taiwan government are legislature, executive, control, judicial, and examination. The leading political parties are Kuomintang, Democratic Progressive Party, and several small parties.
The economy of Taiwan has a real annual growth rate of 10.88% with natural resources like coal, limestone, asbestos, marble, and natural gas that contribute towards the economy. The GDP according to the 2010 statics stands at $430billion with per capita GDP at $18,588. Agriculture contributes 1.6% of the GDP chief agricultural products being fruits and vegetables, pork, flowers, rice, poultry, sugarcane, eel, and shrimp. The industry section contributes 31.3% of GDP and the main imports are from Japan and Hongkong. Out of the 23million population, more than 18million are native Taiwanese originating from the Chinese who migrated from Guangdong and Fujian provinces. On religion, there are about 11.2 million religious believers in Taiwan with more than three quarters of them professing the Buddhist or Taoists religion. On the other hand, there is a strong belief in traditional, folk religion and a small percentage forming the Christians of the nation.
The Taiwan culture is a combination of its distinctive Japanese, Chinese, and Western manipulation. Examples of Asian and western motifs include folk traditions, fine arts, and popular culture embody. An example of Taiwan’s finest attractions is the Palace Museum that is house to over 650,000 pieces of Chinese bronze, painting, calligraphy, jade, and porcelain. The geographical structure of Taiwan has significant impacts ranging from the climate to the activities the people undertake.
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Taiwan is full of mountains, which are waterbeds for the many rivers in the country. This means that climate is favorable for farming and as seen from above agriculture contributes to the economy of Taiwan. The only disadvantage in farming, which comes the geographical setting of Taiwan, is the vicious winds and terrific rainfall, which cause substantial harm to the crops. This winds and rainfall come from tropical cyclones popular in East Asia as typhoons. The geographical features act as a tourist attraction, which boost the economy of Taiwan. Another effect of the geographical setting of Taiwan is that development of infrastructures is considerably hampered by the presence of many mountains. This makes accessing most of the regions difficult, and construction of roads becomes hard.
Taiwan as a country experiences several social problems like declining birthrate, pollution, increasing unemployment rate and many others. Pollution in Taiwan is a growing social issue, which is having a negative impact on the country. Taiwan has many industries, which contribute majorly to the country’s economy. These industries release substances that pollute the environment enormously in terms of sound, air, water, and soil. These substances are mostly chemicals that are dangerous to the animals, crops, and human beings. The development on mountains in the name of having better agriculture, better transport system, and tourism attractions is contributing to the country’s pollution. These mountains are significant as they a source of water because most rivers and springs originate from the mountains. Mountains are also homes to birds and other animals and these developments will mean interfering with their lives. Development on mountains leads to water pollution, landslides, soil erosion, forest fires, and floods (Kelly & Brown, p35).
Another notable social issue is the declining birth rate in Taiwan. Recent studies indicate that Taiwan has the lowest birthrate in the whole world with just one child being born per woman. This spot of having the lowest birthrate was previously held by Hong Kong and Macau. In Taiwan, having more than one baby is a burden, and this is in terms of finance. The cost of living in Taiwan is so high that the thought of having kids is an unwelcome trouble. A better population of Taiwan does not plan to have any kids at all! Another contributing factor to this declining birthrate is the fact that people are finding it hard to balance family life and work. Researches show that Taiwanese work for some of the longest hours in the world and their female population are very carrier orientated. By having a baby, the women feel that they will be wasting time and may lose their jobs. It is more serious when bosses discourage their female employees not to get children (Reardon-Anderson, p89).
Lastly, there is the issue of unemployment in Taiwan. The unemployment rate in Taiwan is increasing at an extraordinarily high rate with records placing it at 5.2%. Unemployment of a country refers to the part of labor force that is without jobs. This unemployment is due to various reasons including high population, limited resources, low education level, and many other reasons. High population in a country will make the available job opportunities be scarce and hence increased competition in the job market. In most cases, the population of a country increases but the job opportunities remain constant. Once this increased population gets to point of employment, which is after their graduation they lack spots to occupy, as are less jobs openings. Limited resources in Taiwan have led to few job opportunities, and there is less job creation. The resources in Taiwan include industries and agriculture and the growth of these two are remarkably low. Low level of education makes the citizens of Taiwan not to have the capability of working in jobs that require high levels of education and experience (Drakakis-Smith, p125).
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The Taiwan government has in the near future been working the several ways in which it can resolve these social issues. On handling the declining birthrate in Taiwan, the government has come up with several incentives to entice women and men to give birth. For instance, the government increases the maternity leave for women to six months and while on leave, they receive sixty percent of their salaries. There have been numerous campaigns encouraging the citizens of Taiwan to have children and not to consider kids as a burden. The men in this country are marrying women from other Asian countries who embrace family and children. This is because the women of Taiwan are career oriented and have no time having children or even families. On the case of unemployment, there have been substantial efforts to increasing the job opportunities in the country. More industries are coming up to cater for the job creation, and this is by the government funding the upcoming industries to develop. There is the encouraging of Taiwan citizens to attain higher education levels so that they can easily compete and be eligible for jobs in the country.
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On the issue of pollution, the government has come up with measures to minimize pollution in Taiwan. There is a restriction of development in areas that contribute to a better environment like mountains, hills, coastal lines, and water catchment areas. They come up with alternative places where these developments can take place or better ways of putting up these developments so that there is no pollution in the country (Chen, p77).
In conclusion, it is evident that the geography of a place will have sizeable impacts on the place in terms of climate, social, culture, and activities. From the above discussion, it is clear that Taiwan has been adversely affected by its geography. Taiwan has several social issues that are facing it including a decline in birth rate, increased unemployment rate, and pollution. Some of these social issues are inevitable like pollution but so far, the government of Taiwan is working towards reducing these issues. As much as these ways of solving the social issues may take time, eventually the government and the Taiwan nation will achieve its set goal. The government does these by coming up with several advertisement and campaigns that create awareness among the citizens.