After Independence in 1965, the population of the country was growing at a rate that would seriously threaten the success of Singapore. The Government introduced the "Stop at two" policy to help control the rapid population growth. It was introduced in 1969. The policy had a very successful response; in fact, it was so successful that the population started to decline. Couples saw the benefits in having a smaller family, such as more money, higher quality of life and cars. The population increase stayed low. Women started to pursue careers before having children. With a rise in University graduated women failing to marry and bear children, the policy "three or more, if you can afford it" was introduced because the Singaporean government saw this as a social problem. It was introduced in 1986.
The policy has been described as 'population rejuvenation'. Its goal was to address the ageing of Singapore, which was threatening the country's quality of life. It was quite effective at first but despite the government's slew of measures including longer maternity leave and cash incentives, the Total Fertility Rate plummeted from 1.6 in 2000 to 1.23 last year. This is a far cry from the 2.1 needed for the population to replace itself.
Families are having less children due to the following reasons: High cost of living, insecurity of jobs, high cost and burden of educating the child, no fun for children to take the pressure of childhood.
Low birth rates means that the government will continue to be more liberal in allowing foreigners to come here as PRs or citizens. And, unlike the times of our forefathers, Singapore today is unlikely to allow the naturalization the peasant, the construction worker or the cleaning lady. The Singapore government wants talents, or in the absence of talent, rich people. The natural result is that native Singaporeans get squeezed in the job markets and the housing markets. Young Singaporeans like myself are now squeezed particularly hard in the housing markets because these PRs or new citizens come in either not knowing the local real estate market or having too much cash to burn, start offering high prices for property, driving property prices upwards. As for the employment landscape, that doesn’t need much explaining; it’s a demand and supply problem.
I think that the Government should promote more of the benefits of having children – joy and laughters of the children through different media (T.V., radio, internet etc.). The more the Government emphasises on the family life and support the birth rate, it will help to increase the birth rate. There should be more television shows about families. The mindset of parents is important. When we think of raising children is very expensive, it will not encourage us to have children. The joy of having children cannot be measured by the cost or spending on the children. We need to see beyond the money cost of having children as children are the bundle of joy and gift from God.
Companies should not be bias on employing pregnant women and the government should change the policy again to state that as long as a woman is pregnant, the company that terminal her should pay up the four months maternity leave instead of the current one that states it’s only liable if it’s 6 months form due dates. A declining fertility rate also affects the social structure of a nation. As less and less people are having families, social networks are affected and support within the family unit changes. Where previously children may have provided a support network for their parents, in many cases, older, childless Singaporeans may turn to the government to assist in providing this network. With an increase in the number of one to two person households with steady income which is often relatively high, standards of living increase for these households, where standards for families with dependants may struggle to keep up. This will then lead to even further decreases in birth...
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