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Taiwan’s aging electorate: Senior citizens and political participation

  • 18 September, 2023
  • Naomi Hellman
Taiwan’s aging electorate: Senior citizens and political participation
An elderly man waits outside a temple after casting his vote at a polling station in Taipei for Taiwan’s local elections.(Photo: Naomi Hellman)

In Taiwan, people aged 65 and above make up about one fifth of the population. The high and increasing proportion of older adults participating in society raises a number of important policy issues and political choices for Taiwan’s upcoming general elections in January 2024.

In particular, candidates running for office will have to pay significantly more attention to improving the well-being of the elderly, but not at the expense of the interests of the young and working-age population.

This means not only changing the distribution of resources to provide for the unmet needs of senior citizens, but also creating new opportunities that could tap into the unrealized potential for those over 65 to contribute to the economy and labor market.

Some of the strategies aimed at enabling older Taiwanese to remain active and achieve a higher quality of life include employment, education, and exercise. These initiatives in turn will depend on the development of transportation infrastructure and the provision of services optimizing inclusion and minimizing discrimination.

As the proportion of pensioners to taxpayers increases, governments will have to account for aging as an asset, rather than a liability. This will require reorienting public spending priorities to better fit the changing demographic landscape and retain electoral support.

However, the relationship between young and old is not a Darwinian zero-sum struggle over the degree of influence and size of funds. Rather, the dynamics of aging are infinitely more complex and not mutually exclusive. 


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