SINGAPORE: Family Planning is a system of rewards and punishment

SINGAPORE (Southeast Asia)                                 

Population: 5.2 million

– Non-residents consist 27% of the population. 

– The proportion of elderly residents (aged 65 years and up) increased from 6.0% in 1990 to 7.2% in 2000 and further to 9.3 per cent in 2011.

Fertility Rate:  3.2 children/woman (1970s) vs. 1.3 children/woman (2010)

Life Expectancy:  68 years (1970s) vs. 81 years (2010)

Infant mortality:  2.65 deaths / 1000 live births

Male/Female Ratio:  0.96 male  / female

Major Religion:  Buddhism, Islam, Taoism

– The failure to have children is the primary factor that leads to a rapidly-aging population. The average age of Singaporeans was just 18 in 1965; this has more than doubled to 39 today. 

– The number of singles in the population is rising, but the marriage rate is on a downtrend (24,363 marriages in 2009 against 26,081 in 2010).  In 2000, 33% of males and 22% of females aged 30-34 years were single.  In 2010, this has increased to 43% of males and 31% for females in 2010. 

– The number of marital dissolutions such as divorces and annulments rose from 7,338 in 2010 to 7,604 in 2011.  The women initiated almost two-thirds of the civil divorces.

 – About one in four pregnancies is terminated through abortion. 

 – The government introduced the “Stop at Two” policy in 1969 to help control the rapid population growth.  Abortion and sterilization were legalized, and women were urged to get sterilized after their second child.  The government also implemented an array of disincentives to penalize parents for having more than two children, raising the per-child costs of each additional child. 

– In 1986, the government recognized that falling birth rates was a serious problem.  It began to reverse its policy and encouraged higher birth rates instead.  That same year, the government abolished the Family Planning and Population Board.  In 1987, the “Have Three or More” policy began to be promoted.  Financial incentives were given to encourage bigger families – ranging from cash rewards, tax rebates, grants for each child, maid levy cuts, childcare subsidies and priority in housing and school registration, flexi-time and other maternity benefits.

– The Social Development Unit (SDU) was also established in 1984 to promote marriage and romance between educated individuals.  This was later renamed to Social Development Network (SDN) in 2007.  SDN introduced a local dating industry to promote marriages among singles and create opportunities and services for singles to widen their social circle and to find life partners.

 – 17.2% of Singapore’s resident elderly population are in the labor force. 

-Singapore has the highest proportion of millionaires in the world, with nearly one in every six households having more than $1 million in assets.

– The prevalence of myopia in Singapore is the highest in the world.  20% of the children are myopic at 7 years at the start of their primary education.  70% of the youth are myopic upon completing college education.

– The country has the highest rate for obsessive-compulsive disorder in the world, which hits 3% of the population. 




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