None of Nantou County’s 13 administrative regions have populations exceeding 100,000, the latest household registration statistics showed.

The population of Puli Township (埔里), the county’s third-largest administrative region behind Nantou City and Caotun Township (草屯), fell from 80,047 last month to 79,942 this month, the statistics showed.

This is the first time in 43 years the township’s population has fallen below 80,000, they showed.

Puli Township had a population of 543 in 1946. The number rose to more than 70,000 in 1965 and 80,000 in 1977 before peaking at 88,271 in 1998, the statistics showed.

The population began to decrease the next year due to a combination of factors, including the 921 Earthquake, a lower birthrate and emigration, and has been falling since, they showed.

The township had a population of about 88,000 in May last year, when its representative council asked officials to address the population decline, council member Tseng Hsiu-yueh (曾秀月) said on Saturday.

However, over the past 18 months, the population has fallen below 80,000, she said.

She fears the township’s population decline cannot be reversed, Tseng said.

Nantou City’s population last year fell below 100,000 and was 99,251 last month, the statistics showed.

The population of Caotun Township, Taiwan’s largest town by population, was 97,577 — a slight increase of about 300 from six months ago — but that still pointed at an overall decline.

Caotun Township’s population was more than 100,000 in 2008 and in 2009, before starting to decline, the statistics showed.

The Puli Township Office this year said it has launched a “regional revitalization plan” to improve local employment opportunities and encourage young people to return to the township.

The long-term plan aims to reduce the impact of an aging population and people moving away on the local economy, education system and other aspects, it said.