Improvement In Living Conditions

In the past fifty years, the Provincial Government and the people have cooperatively achieved remarkable progress, as follows:

Gross National Product

Based on prices in 1979, when the GNP stood at a total of US$45.34 billion, the GNP in 1994 increased to US$242.13 billion. Using 1991 as a base of 100, the 1994 GNP index was 134.19. Per capita GNP in 1979 was US$1,920, and it increased to US$11,629 in 1994. With 1991 standing at 100, the per capita GNP index of 1994 was 132.32.

Per Capita Income

Based on prices in 1979, when the income of the people in Taiwan totaled US$40.49 billion, the total income increased to US$220.41 billion in 1994. Taking 1991 as a base year with an index of 100, the 1994 income index was 131.09. Per capita income was US$1,455 in 1979 and the figure increased to US$10,585 in 1994. With 1991 as a base of 100, the per capita income index was 127.46 in 1994.

Price Index

The price index, combining the wholesale price index and the urban consumer price index, is an important indicator of economic stability. The price index for 1994, using that of 1991 as 100, was 100.88 and the urban consumer price index was 111.94. This indicates that Taiwan enjoys greater price stability than its neighboring industrialized nations.

The Gap between Rich and Poor

The gap between rich and poor can be analyzed by dividing families in Taiwan into five groups of equal size according to family income. The highest income group in 1964 received 41.07% of the national income, 5.33 times higher than the 7.71 % received by the lowest group. By 1993, the share for the highest income group had been reduced to 38.76%, only 5.62 times the 6.89% of the lowest income group.

Improvement in Living Conditions

The rising living standards of Taiwan's people can be seen from changes in such areas as food, clothing, housing, transportation and communications, education and recreation, as well as from the respective proportions of family income taken up by each:


People have shifted their interest in food from quantity to quality. The average daily per capita food consumption was 3,018.6 calories and 94.94 grams of protein in 1993. The percentage of a family's total income spent on food dropped from 43.7% in 1979 to 29.50% in 1993.


People in Taiwan now pay more and more attention to comfort and style, buying more clothes per year. The per capita expense on cloth-ing averaged US$259.78 in 1993.


In the past years, housing construction has been upgraded in practicality, comfort, and style. Household electrical appliances have also increased in number. In 1993, 83.4% of households had running water, and 99.7% had electricity. The per capita electricity consumption was 6,509 watt/hour.

Transportation and Communications

Transportation has shown remarkable progress. The opening of new roads and the elimination of old vehicles are good examples. Take the in-crease in motor vehicles as an instance: the number grew from 3,913,906 in 1979 to 15,190,089 in 1993, about a 3.9-fold increase. Every 1,000 people own 164 cars and 523 motorcycles. The increase in telephones has also been great. At the end of 1993 every 1,000 people owned 505 telephones.


The government is concerned not only with classroom education, but also with the care of infants, children, and the elderly. In education, there have also been improved standards.


Due to higher living standards and economic growth, people's living space has expanded from indoor entertainment to outdoor recreational activities. As a result, tourism has flourished in recent years. In 1993 outgoing tourists numbered 4,654,436 and incoming tourists 1,850,214. The percentage of a family's total income spent on recreation increased from 7.39% in 1979 to 12.56% in 1993.

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