Between early 1960s and the 1990s, together with other Asian Tigers, Hong
Kong, Singapore and South Korea, Taiwan continuously achieved high annual gross
domestic product (GDP) growth, experienced fast industrialization and graduated
from being a Newly Industrialized Country (NIC) into an advanced and
Taiwan’s development experience was hailed as “Taiwan Miracle.”
One of the major characteristics that made Taiwan exceptional was its ability to achieve high GDP growth and income growth, while maintaining relatively narrow disparities in income distribution. Taiwan’s Gini coefficient had decreased from 0.321 in 1964 to 0.277 in 1980. But since 1981, the number had slowly climbed up, reaching 0.317 in 1995. The difference in disposable income between the top and bottom 20 percent households was less than five times during the 1970s and 1980s.Despite this history of economic growth, Taiwan is now facing rising poverty and widening income disparities.