About 21 percent of married men and women in Taiwan aged 35 to 54 still live with their parents, even though they are financially independent, according to statistics released by the Ministry of the Interior on Wednesday.
Over 1.06 million married people in the age bracket still live with their parents, said the ministry, which published the statistics for the first time as a reference for local governments in devising housing policies that better meet the needs of their constituents.
People falling in the group are described by the ministry as "having the potential to live independently" because they are seen as being financially independent from their parents and able to make a living and support a family.
The ministry found that the percentage of married people living with their parents tended to be higher in rural areas than in urban areas.
In Taiwan's six major metropolitan areas (Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung), 16 to 22 percent of married people aged 35 to 54, still lived with their parents, compared with 26 to 33 percent in more rural counties in central and southern Taiwan.
Fewer married people in urban areas live with their parents because they tend to value their independence more, the ministry said. They also have to deal with limited sizes of apartments that make it harder for extended families to live together, according to the ministry.
In contrast, many houses in more rural parts of central and southern Taiwan are multiple-floor townhouses that can accommodate more people. Although married couples live with their parents in the same building, they can still enjoy a degree of independence by having one floor of the house to themselves, the ministry said.
Among Taiwan's 22 cities and countries, outlying Kinmen County (33.79 percent) and Yunlin County (33.34 percent) and Chiayi County (32.74 percent) in southern Taiwan had the highest ratios of potentially independent married people still living with their parents, the ministry said.
Keelung City (15.82 percent), Hsinchu City (15.96 percent) and New Taipei City (16.71 percent), all in northern Taiwan, had the lowest ratios, it said.
The ministry explained that in Yunlin and Chiayi counties -- where agriculture is the main source of income -- people tend to stay put to help cultivate their family's land, and it is also easier for married people to live with their parents to take care of them.
On the other hand, many natives of the port city of Keelung tend to move to bigger neighboring cities to find work and start their own families outside their original hometowns, the ministry said.
As for New Taipei, the city attracts many people from other parts of Taiwan to work and start families, also leading to a lower proportion of married people living with their parents, the ministry said.
Similarly, Hsinchu, home to one of Taiwan's biggest science parks, draws many young adults from around Taiwan to land a job at the park, and many of them settle in the area away from their parents, the ministry said.
Source: Focus Taiwan