The population of Taiwan in 2003 was estimated by the United Nations at 22,500,000, which placed it as number 48 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In that year approximately 9% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 21% of the population under 15 years of age. The projected population for the year 2005 is 23,325,000, assuming a crude birthrate of 14 per 1,000 population and a death rate of 6, resulting in a natural rate of change of 0.8% for the period 2000–2005. The population density in 2002 was 621 per sq km (1,608 per sq mi), one of the highest in the world. Approximately 90% of the inhabitants live west of the Central Range.
It was estimated that 75% of the population lived in urban areas in 2001. T'aipei, the capital and principal city, had a metropolitan population of 2,880,000 in 2001, followed by Kaohsiung, with 1,534,000. Other large cities include T'aichung (794,960), T'ainan (694,930), and Panch'iao (543,982).