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The population of Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China (ROC), is approximately 23.57 million, spread across a total land area of about 36,000 km2; it is the seventeenth most densely populated country in the world, with a population density of about 651 inhabitants per square kilometer.

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  • The population of Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China (ROC), is approximately 23.57 million, spread across a total land area of about 36,000 km2; it is the seventeenth most densely populated country in the world, with a population density of about 651 inhabitants per square kilometer.
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  • Demographics of Taiwan
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  • The population of Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China (ROC), is approximately 23.57 million, spread across a total land area of about 36,000 km2; it is the seventeenth most densely populated country in the world, with a population density of about 651 inhabitants per square kilometer. The original population of the island of Taiwan and its associated islands, i.e. not including Kinmen and the Matsu Islands, consisted of a variety of aboriginal groups, who spoke several Austronesian languages. They have been found to share languages from the Austronesian family and mitochondrial DNA contribution with island peoples of Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Immigration of Han Chinese to the Penghu islands started as early as the 13th century, while settlement of the main island occurred from the 16th century. It was stimulated by Dutch traders importing workers from Fujian in the 17th century. According to governmental statistics, in the early 21st century, more than 95% of the Republic of China's population is of Han Chinese ethnicity, while 2.3% are Taiwanese aborigines of Austronesian ethnicity. Half the population are followers of one or a mixture of 25 recognized religions. Around 93% of the religious population are followers of a mixture of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, while a minority 4.5% are followers of Christianity (including both Catholics and Protestants). During the 20th century, the population of Taiwan rose more than sevenfold, from about 3 million in 1905 to more than 22 million by 2001. This high growth was caused by a combination of factors, such as very high fertility rates up to the 1960s, and low mortality rates. In addition, there was a surge in population as the Chinese Civil War ended and the Kuomintang (KMT) forces retreated, bringing an influx of 1.2 to 2 million soldiers and civilians to Taiwan in 1948–1949. Consequently, the natural growth rate after that was very rapid, especially in the late 1940s and 1950s, with an effective annual growth rate as high as 3.68% during 1951–1956. Including the Kuomintang forces, which accounted in 1950 for about 25% of all persons in Taiwan, immigration of mainland Chinese (who now constitute approximately 13% of the present population) at the end of the 1940s was a major factor in the high population growth of Taiwan. Fertility rates decreased gradually thereafter; in 1984 the rate reached the replacement level (2.1 children per woman, which is needed to replace the existing population). Fertility rates have continued to decline. In 2010 Taiwan had a population growth of less than 0.2% and a fertility rate of only 0.9, the lowest rate ever recorded in that country. The population of Taiwan is projected to peak at about 23.7 million in 2024 and decrease thereafter. The official national language is Standard Chinese. Around 70% of the people also speak Taiwanese Hokkien and 10% speak Hakka. Japanese speakers are becoming rare as the elderly generation who lived under Japanese rule are dying out, but many young Taiwanese use English or Japanese as a second language. Aboriginal languages are gradually becoming extinct as the aborigines have become acculturated. The ROC government has a program to preserve the languages and has recognized sixteen distinct aboriginal groups as peoples.
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