Our citizen population reached a turning point in 2012, as our first cohort of Baby Boomers turned 65. Singapore will experience an unprecedented age shift between now and 2030. Over 900,000 Baby Boomers, more than a quarter of the current citizen population, will enter their silver years. From 2020 onwards, the number of working-age citizens will decline, as older Singaporeans retiring outnumber younger ones starting work. At our current low birth rate, our citizen population will age rapidly, and also start declining from 2025, if we do not take in any new immigrants. This White Paper sets out the key considerations and roadmap for Singapore’s population policies to address this demographic challenge. It outlines the Government’s policies to maintain a strong Singaporean core in the population, regulate how many new Singapore citizens (SCs) and permanent residents (PRs) we take in, create jobs and opportunities for Singaporeans, build a high quality living environment, as well as strengthen our identity and society.
ThrEE PIllarS for a SuSTaInaBlE PoPulaTIon for a dYnaMIc SIngaPorE A sustainable population for Singapore rests on three key pillars. First, Singaporeans form the core of our society and the heart of our nation. To be a strong and cohesive society, we must have a strong Singaporean core. Strong families are the bedrock of our society, through which we pass on our values and sense of belonging from one generation to the next. We may
have diverse geographical and ethnic backgrounds, but we are all Singaporean because we share certain key values and aspirations, including meritocracy, a fair and just society, and respect for one another’s culture within a broad common space where all interact and bond. Second, our population and workforce must support a dynamic economy that can steadily create good jobs and opportunities to meet Singaporeans’ hopes and aspirations. Many Asian cities are modernising rapidly, and catching up on us. Singapore must continue to develop and upgrade to remain a key node in the network of global cities, a vibrant place where jobs and opportunities are created. A dynamic economy will provide us with more resources and room to pursue inclusive growth strategies to benefit all segments of our society. Third, we must continue to keep Singapore a good home. Our city must continue to be well-managed,
well-planned, and well-developed. We must meet the infrastructure needs of a changing population and economy in a timely and efficient way, while preserving and enhancing a green environment, so that Singapore can be a unique, bustling ‘City in a Garden’.
MaInTaInIng a STrong SIngaPorEan corE
In 2011, our Total Fertility Rate (TFR) was 1.20. It has been below the replacement rate of 2.1 for more than three decades. Low and falling TFR is not unique to Singapore. Many developed Western countries, and East Asian societies such as Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan, suffer the same problem. To help Singaporeans achieve their dreams to marry and have children, we introduced a Marriage & Parenthood Package in 2001, and enhanced it in 2004 and 2008. We are further enhancing the Package this year to:
(a) enable couples to get housing faster and more easily, so that they can marry and start families earlier; (b) provide support for conception and delivery costs; (c) further defray child-raising costs, including healthcare costs; (d) enhance work-life measures to help working couples balance work and family commitments; (e) signal to fathers to play a bigger role through paternity and shared parental leave. We will continue to welcome immigrants who can contribute to Singapore, share our values and integrate into our society. More Singaporeans are marrying non-Singaporeans. About 40% of Singaporean marriages each year are between a Singaporean and a non-Singaporean – some 9,000 in 2011 alone. We do not...