For whatever reason, many Americans seem to think Taiwan is a “poor country.” However, when you look at the economic stats, Taiwan is not poor at all, not these days. It’s become quite a wealthy country.
Today, let’s look at how much money is needed to be “rich” in Taiwan, on an individual level. Would you be considered “rich” in Taiwan?
A monthly income of ~$10,000 USD or more would arguably make you “rich” in Taiwan. That’d put you in the top 5% of earners, alongside lawyers, CEOs, and doctors. For net worth, you’d need at least $1 million USD to feel rich, as an estimated 4.4% of adults in Taiwan are millionaires.
I’ll expand on those numbers and more below, to help you understand what really counts as “rich” in Taiwan. We’ll look at common salaries, median wealth, cost of living comparisons, and more!
What is Wealthy in Taiwan?
When we talk about being “rich,” we have to look at both wealth and income. Let’s start with wealth.
Taiwan is a pretty wealthy country. Interestingly, Taiwan has the highest net financial assets per capita of any country in Asia—$134,364 USD—that’s even more than Singapore.
Another statistic showing Taiwan’s considerable wealth is median wealth per adult. Taiwan ranks 15th in the world by this metric, with $113,938 USD per adult. (source)
I found two estimates of the number of millionaires in Taiwan in 2022—but the estimates are quite far apart. Statista says Taiwan had 468,000 millionaires in 2022. Meanwhile, Credit Suisse put the estimate at 869,000 millionaires.
The higher millionaire estimate would mean about 4.4% of adults in Taiwan are millionaires, or about 1 in 23 adults. (The lower estimate would mean that about 1 in 42 adults in Taiwan are millionaires in USD.)
How does this compare to other countries in Asia? Well, Singapore and Hong Kong have a higher percentage of millionaires. But other than that, Taiwan has the highest frequency of millionaires of any country in Asia.
What Is a Good Salary in Taiwan?
Now let’s talk about monthly income. First, let’s look at the lower end of things—minimum wage and lower-income jobs.
As of 2023, the minimum wage in Taiwan is 26,400 TWD per month (~$830 USD) (source). However, it’s interesting to note—many of the lower-income jobs in Taiwan are reported to have much higher monthly incomes than that:
- Mechanic: 47,900 TWD (~$1,510 USD)
- Cashier: 48,900 TWD (~$1,540 USD)
- Secretary: 60,600 TWD (~$1,910 USD)
So, while the minimum wage is 26,400 TWD, most Taiwanese workers seem to be making quite a bit more. Indeed, only 20% of Taiwanese workers make under 76,300 TWD per month ( ~$2,400 USD).
Now, what about higher-income jobs? How much do richer Taiwanese make?
High Incomes in Taiwan
Here are reported monthly incomes for some better-paying careers in Taiwan:
- Attorney: 262,000 TWD (~$8,240 USD)
- CEO: 287,000 TWD (~$9,020 USD)
- Dentist: 329,000 TWD (~$10,350 USD)
Aside from these specific jobs, we can also look at broader salary distributions. What do the top 50% of earners make? What about the top 5%? As of 2023, Salary Explorer reports the following:
- The top 50% earn 115,000 TWD or more per month (~$3,620 USD).
- The top 25% earn 175,000 TWD or more per month (~$5,500 USD).
- The top 15% earn 196,000 TWD or more per month (~$6,160 USD).
- The top 5% earn 251,000 TWD or more per month (~$7,890 USD).
- “Almost everyone” earns 577,000 TWD or less per month (~$18,140 USD).
So, let’s recap: When it comes to monthly income, the low end in Taiwan is around ~$860 to $2,000 per month, while the median is ~$3,620 USD, and the top earners are in the range of ~$8,000 to $18,000 USD or more per month.
Cost of Living in Taiwan
To get another view of what’s “a lot of money” in Taiwan, let’s look at the estimated cost of living in various cities in Taiwan, particularly as a foreigner potentially moving there.
The following figures are according to Nomad List:
|City||Expat Cost of Living||Nomad Cost of Living|
|Kaohsiung||$893 USD||$1,519 USD|
|Taipei||$1,208 USD||$2,127 USD|
|Tainan||$982 USD||$1,716 USD|
|Kinmen||$1,430 USD||$2,109 USD|
|Taichung||$1,783 USD||$2,385 USD|
Obviously, your own costs will vary, but that should give you some general idea of the costs to live in Taiwan. Personally, these numbers look quite affordable, compared to the common income amounts shown above.
We can also compare the average cost of living in Taiwan to other countries, using Numbeo. This should give us an overall sense of the scale of prices.
The following table shows the “cost of living with rent” in Taiwan compared to other countries:
|Country||How Taiwan Compares|
|United States||Taiwan is ~75% cheaper.|
|Australia||Taiwan is ~66% cheaper.|
|Canada||Taiwan is ~48% cheaper.|
|United Kingdom||Taiwan is ~38% cheaper.|
|South Korea||Taiwan is ~28% cheaper.|
|Japan||Taiwan is ~6% cheaper.|
|China||Taiwan is ~24% more expensive.|
|Thailand||Taiwan is ~25% more expensive.|
|Vietnam||Taiwan is ~34% more expensive.|
|Philippines||Taiwan is ~34% more expensive.|
|Malaysia||Taiwan is ~39% more expensive.|
|Colombia||Taiwan is ~48% more expensive.|
|India||Taiwan is ~58% more expensive.|
Again, remember that the specific city will impact your costs a lot. Rent costs can be as much as 49% cheaper in Kaohsiung than Taipei, for example. (source)
If you’re used to life in America or another highly developed country, you’d probably want $2,000 to $4,000 per month to “live well” in Taiwan. To feel rich, it’s going to take a lot more, maybe more like $8,000+ or $10,000+ per month.
What It Takes to Be “Rich” in Different Asian Countries
Read my other guides to what counts as “rich” in Asia—complete with salary data, net worth statistics and more: