Between 2012 and 2018, Taiwanese authorities closed 594 schools islandwide. They also cut thousands of classes at the remaining schools and reduced the hiring of new teachers.
All were steps taken in response to an ongoing fall in enrollments — approximately 100,000 fewer students per year during that period. The drop is the result of Taiwan's declining birthrate, with women today bearing an average of 1.06 children, far below the 2.1 replacement rate needed to maintain the population.
Beyond empty schools, such a decline spells trouble across the social and economic map, especially as Taiwanese are living significantly longer than in the past, with projections suggesting that by 2065 there will be one working-age adult for every retiree.