Singapore population hits record 5.7 million but pace of growth slows, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Singapore population hits record 5.7 million but pace of growth slows

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But report shows rate of growth is slowing

Singapore's population grew at a slower pace in the last five years compared with the same period before it, even as the total population hit a record 5.7 million.

But the encouraging figures on citizen marriages and births across a similar time period give hope that the declining trend can be halted, experts said when commenting on the trends in the new population figures released yesterday.

They added that an important task in the years ahead would be to encourage people aged between 25 and 29 to get hitched and start families.

The latest annual Population In Brief report shows total population expanded by 1.2 per cent from June 2018 to June this year, compared with 0.5 per cent before.

Citizens accounted for 3.5 million of the 5.7 million, while the rest were made up of permanent residents and non-residents who include foreigners who work here and their dependants, as well as international students.

Last year's 1.2 per cent rise in population, however, was not enough to lift the overall growth rate of the past five years. It stood at 0.8 per cent for 2014 to 2019. It was 1.9 per cent between 2009 and 2014.

But in the last five years, Singaporeans had more babies on average than the previous five years.

From 2014 to 2018, there were 33,000 citizen births on average each year, an increase from the average of 31,400 from 2009 to 2013.

More Singaporeans were tying the knot. From 2014 to 2018, there were 24,000 citizen marriages on average each year, higher than the 21,900 from 2009 to 2013.

Experts say this is an encouraging trend but whether it can be sustained will hinge on creating an environment to coax young people to get married.

This is especially so for those aged between 25 and 29, known as the echo boomers as they are the children of the post-war baby boomers. Among women in this age group, 69.4 per cent are not married and among men, 80.6 per cent.

Singapore Management University sociologist Paulin Straughan said: "In the next five years, we have to do whatever possible to encourage them to cross the marital status barrier.

"If we succeed, we will have another echo. But if we miss, the proportion of young people will shrink and we will be in trouble."

Meanwhile, Singapore continues to age. The proportion of working-age citizens has contracted while that of the greying pool has expanded.

Some 63.1 per cent of citizens are aged 20 to 64 now, compared with 64.4 per cent in 2009. For those aged 65 and older, the figure is 16 per cent now, from 9.9 per cent in 2009.