Singapore’s Changing Structure and the Policy Implications for Financial Security, Employment, Living Arrangements and Health Care

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ASIAN METACENTRE RESEARCH PAPER SERIES

no. 3

Singapore’s Changing Structure and the Policy Implications for Financial Security, Employment, Living Arrangements and Health Care Angelique Chan

Founded 1905

ASIAN METACENTRE
FOR POPULATION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT ANALYSIS
HEADQUARTERS AT INSTITUTE FOR ASIAN RESEARCH

NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE

Singapore’s Changing Age Structure And The Policy Implications For Financial Security, Employment, Living Arrangements, and Health Care Angelique Chan

Angelique Chan is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the National University of Singapore. She received her Ph.D from the University of California, Los Angeles and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Michigan Population Studies Center. Most of her research lies in the area of social demography. She has carried out analyses of infant mortality in China and analyses of population aging in Malaysia and Singapore. Her current research focuses on comparative analyses of the social and economic consequences of population aging in Asia using survey data from the region.

Contents

Contents Abstract List of Tables List of Figures Section 1 Section 2 Section 3 Section 4 Section 5 Section 6 Section 7 Section 8 References Notes Introduction Singapore’s Changing Age Structure Data Financial Security Employment and Employability Housing and Land Use Policies Health Care Conclusion

i ii iii iv 1 3 6 7 13 15 18 22 23 25

i

Abstract

T

his paper discusses the issues and implications of population aging for Singapore. As one of the fastest aging populations in Asia, Singapore faces the challenge of developing public policies to accommodate this changing age structure. This paper examines some of the social and economic consequences of this rapid shift in Singapore’s age stricture. The specific areas discussed are financial security, employment, living arrangements, and health care, for Singapore elderly. Recently available panel data for Singapore (1995-1999) is used to examine the changing needs of the elderly over time. The results show large variations in financial and health status of the elderly between the two survey periods. The panel data also reveal changes in living arrangements between 1995 and 1999, although the changes are not as dramatic as those for income. An increasing percentage of elderly persons who are not working are looking for work. This suggests that policies aimed at hiring older workers will be well received by the elderly themselves in future. The results point to the need to develop policies that cater to specific sub-groups of elderly persons. The implementation of uniform policies across all ages of elderly runs the risk of neglecting needs of specific sub-groups over time.

ii

List of Tables

Table 1 Table 2 Table 3 Table 4 Table 5 Table 6 Table 7 Table 8 Table 9 Table 10 Table 11 Table 12 Table 13 Table 14 Table 15

Singapore’s Population and Growth Rate, 1871-2030 Median Age for Singapore (1911-2000) Target Contribution Rates for the Various CPF Accounts (Current Rates are Indicated in Brackets Below) Total CPF Savings at Age 55 Among Elderly Who Were Aged 59 and Above in 1999 Level and Change in Income: Singapore, 1995-1999 Changing Levels of Perceived Income Adequacy Between 1995 and 1999 Association Between Change in Actual Income and Change in Perceived Income Adequacy: Singapore, 1995-1999 Employment Status of Elderly Singaporeans, 1995 and 1999 Main Reason for Continuing Work After Retirement by Ethnicity, 1999 Type of Living Arrangements for Respondents Aged 59 and Above in 1999 Health Status of Elderly Singaporeans, 1995 and 1999 Change in Health Status of Respondents Between 1995 and 1999 Type of Ailments by Age Group for Chinese Elderly Type of Ailments by Age Group for Malay Elderly Type of Ailments by Age Group for Indian Elderly

3 4 8 9 10 11 11 13 14 15 19 19 20 20 21

iii

List of Figures

Figure 1

Changes in...
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