A stroller on the streets of Taipei is seemingly just as likely to carry a puppy as a human baby these days.
Strollers with dogs have become common in Taiwan’s capital, in part because the metro system requires pets to be held in carriers, but also because there are now more pets than children in Taiwan as more people have been adopting pets and the country’s birthrate has declined, The Guardian reported Friday.
“Dogs in Taiwan are pampered and well cared for, but can also be an accessory to show off, and the more portable the better,” Taiwan resident Tom Parker told The Guardian.
Strollers with dogs have become increasingly common in Taiwan’s capital.
Taiwan officials estimated there were close to 3 million pets in the country during the second half of this year, a number even larger than the number of children age 14 or younger, PetFoodIndustry.com previously reported.
At the same time, Taiwan has a declining birth rate – down 6% from 2016 to 2019, Taiwan News reported.
The report pointed to social pressure against having a child outside of marriage, as well as short maternity leave periods and low wages, as the largest barriers to having children in the country.
Taiwan officials estimated there were close to 3 million pets in the country during the second half of this year. (iStock)
Taiwan isn’t the only country where pets outnumber children. Japan’s pet population has reportedly outgrown its child population since 2003. Even the U.S. has an estimated 135 million dogs and cats, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, while there’s only around 73 million person under the age of 18, per the U.S. Census Bureau.
The growing number of pets in Taiwan isn’t an accident. The country has encouraged pet ownership by boosting pet accommodations like pet-friendly restaurants and hotels in Taipei, according to PetFoodIndustry.com. The city, with a population of about 2.7 million people, had more than 120 pet-oriented hospitality businesses as of last year, such as eateries that offer “gourmet” pet menus with human-grade ingredients.
The U.S. has an estimated 135 million dogs and cats. (iStock)
Taipei even introduced several “pet-friendly” bus lines last year in which animals just need to be on a leash, not in a carrier.
Some accessories traditionally associated with humans have also become more popular for pets in Taiwan, according to The Guardian. For instance, it’s not completely uncommon to see a dog sporting a raincoat, sunglasses or socks.