Taiwan (Traditional Chinese: 臺灣 or 台灣; Simplified Chinese: 台湾; Hanyu Pinyin: Táiwān), sometimes known as Formosa is an island in East Asia and has served as the seat of the Republic of China on Taiwan since 1949. Known for its natural beauty, the country is 245 miles long and 89 miles wide, with a steep central mountain range and plains on the west coast.
Taiwan has a population of 23 million. Numbering more than 18 million, the "native" Taiwanese, are descendants of migrants from Fujian and Guangdong Provinces on the mainland, primarily in the 18th and 19th centuries. The "mainlanders," who arrived in Taiwan after 1945, came from all parts of mainland China. About 485,000 "Aborigines" (indigenous peoples of Taiwan who have not mixed with other peoples in recent times) inhabit the mountainous central and eastern parts of the island and are believed to be of Malayo-Polynesian origin. Of Taiwan's total population, approximately one million, or 4.4%, currently reside in mainland China.
- Population (December 2007): 23.0 million.
- Annual growth rate (2007): 0.36%.
- Languages: Mandarin Chinese (official), Taiwanese, Hakka.
- Education: Years compulsory--9. Attendance (2006)--99.0%. Literacy (2006)--97.5%.
- Health: Infant mortality rate (2006)--0.46%. Life expectancy (2006)--77.46 yrs; male 74.57 yrs.; female 80.81 yrs.
- Work force (2007): 10.7 million.