Singapore's Total Fertility Rate (TFR) fell to 1.1 in 2020, a record low and a decline from 1.14 in 2019, according to data from the Singapore Department of Statistics. The TFR is the average number of children a woman is expected to have in her lifetime, and a rate of 2.1 is needed to maintain a stable population.
The data also showed that the number of births in Singapore fell to 34,170 in 2020, a decline of 7.9% from the previous year. This is the lowest number of births since 2009 and marks the seventh consecutive year of decline.
The declining birth rate is a cause for concern in Singapore as the country's population is ageing rapidly. According to the Department of Statistics, the proportion of Singapore's population aged 65 and above is expected to double from 14.4% in 2019 to 28% by 2039.
The ageing population is a challenge for the government as it will put pressure on healthcare and social security systems. The declining birth rate is also a concern for the economy as it could lead to a shortage of workers and a slowdown in economic growth.
To address the issue, the Singapore government has introduced several measures to encourage couples to have more children. These include the Baby Bonus Scheme, which provides cash incentives for parents, and the Enhanced Marriage and Parenthood Package, which offers support for families in areas such as healthcare and education.
Despite these efforts, the TFR has continued to decline. Some experts attribute the decline to the high cost of living in Singapore, which makes it difficult for young couples to afford to have children. Others point to the changing attitudes towards marriage and parenthood, with many young people prioritising their careers and personal goals over starting a family.
The declining birth rate is not unique to Singapore and is a trend seen in many developed countries. According to the United Nations, the global fertility rate has declined from 3.2 in 1990 to 2.5 in 2020. This trend has been attributed to factors such as increased access to education and contraception, changing cultural norms and values, and the rise of women's empowerment and participation in the workforce.
In conclusion, Singapore's declining birth rate and low TFR is a cause for concern for the country's future economic and social stability. While the government has implemented measures to encourage couples to have more children, addressing the root causes of the issue, such as the high cost of living and changing societal values, will be crucial to reversing the trend.
Department of Statistics Singapore. (2021). Population Trends 2021. Retrieved from https://www.singstat.gov.sg/-/media/files/publications/population/population2021.pdf
United Nations. (2021). World Population Prospects 2019 Highlights. Retrieved from https://population.un.org/wpp/Publications/Files/WPP2019_Highlights.pdf