Thursday, 25 October 2012

Our SG Population

UPDATE - SG White Paper On Population

White Paper to address population issues 'holistically': DPM Teo

The Government's White Paper on Population, to be released in January, will address "in a holistic way" issues such as the adequacy of existing infrastructure to accommodate population growth and the social impact of new immigrants.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said this in response to questions raised by Aljunied GRC Member of Parliament (MP) Pritam Singh and Hougang MP Png Eng Huat.

Noting Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's view that Singapore could accommodate six million people in the future, Mr Singh asked about the composition of the country's future population as well as the impact of new arrivals socially and on property prices. Mr Png, meanwhile, asked if existing facilities are adequately designed to support the current population of 5.31 million and whether a survey has been conducted to assess the quality of life in relation to the increase in population density.

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Govt admits: We could have planned better

The twin train disruptions on 15 and 17 December 2011 affected more than 200,000 commuters in total. Transport minister Lui Tuck Yew said his ministry and the LTA hold shared responsibility for the incidents alongside SMRT. (Yahoo! file photo)

DPM Teo Chee Hean admits that population growth in recent years has outpaced Singapore's infrastructure plans.

Speaking in Parliament on Thursday, Minister Teo said the government has since ramped up infrastructure development in the areas of transport, housing and healthcare and these are "coming on stream progressively".

But he admitted that going forward, Singapore needs to "better manage infrastructure provision with population needs".

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S'pore population up at 5.31 million, 82% residents stay in HDB flats

The Republic's population has increased, due to growth of both the resident and non-resident populations.

The Department of Statistics (DOS), in its Population Trends 2012 report released today, said the country's total population stood at 5.31 million as at end June, up 2.5 per cent from a year ago.

It said there were 3.29 million Singapore citizens and 0.53 million permanent residents, and the rest were non-residents.

Singapore's population rose to 5.31 million as influx of foreigners continues unabated
YahooNews Singapore, 28 Sep 2012
Singapore added a little over 128,000 people over the year up to June this year.

In the latest annual Population Trends publication by the Singapore Department of Statistics, the country’s total population reached 5.31 million at end-June, 2.5 per cent more than the figure a year ago.

The number of Singapore citizens grew by close to 28,000 to 3.29 million over the one-year period.

That of permanent residents (PRs) was up by a little over 1,000 to 533,100 over the period. This was a minimal increase versus the 1.7 per cent contraction the year before. Full story

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6+ million? At what cost?

It was reported in The Straits Timesthat Singapore's population stands at 5.31 million. Although this figure is helpful, we don't need to have these numbers to know that our country is over-populated. You only need to be out on our streets to know this.

And yet PM Lee says that the population can afford to go up to 6 plus million. Does he know what he is talking about? Has Mr Lee ever ridden on the MRT during peak hours? Has he ever seen the hordes of commuters in a train station even up to 10pm?

Has he ever had to let three trains pass before he could eventually squeeze into the fourth?

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Singapore's demographic time bomb

Singapore has the lowest fertility rate in the world, thanks to a generation that's increasingly delaying, or avoiding, the traditional milestones of marriage and childbirth. For a government with a fondness for social engineering, the failure to boost the baby rate is deeply frustrating. Joanna McCarthy reports

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Foreign manpower growth slowing down: Tan Chuan Jin

Foreign manpower in Singapore grew by 34,100 people in the first half of this year, largely due to strong demand from the construction sector as the government ramps up the building of HDB flats, Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan Jin said on Sunday.

Addressing concerns about recently-released population statistics showing continued growth in Singapore’s foreign workforce number, Tan explained in a post in The Manpower Blog where the increases were coming from.

He pointed out that the overall growth in foreign manpower earlier this year was slower than the 36,800 added in the first half of last year.

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700,000 more to 6 million people

Didn't the PM say he will throttle the inflow. At current rates, we will have 6 million people here within five years. No, they cannot allow such a huge influx. You don't even need to do any calculation to know the infrastructure will not cope.

I think the population growth would have been much higher going by what several friends have told me how impossibly difficult it has become for their companies to bring in PMETs.

Singapore as become a very desirable destination since the G successfully put us on the global map. A good guess is a huge number of people which we had not seen before must be knocking on our doors to get in. After all many other cities are facing legendary problems. They lose their jobs, they want to be here.

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Foreign population continues to increase unabatedly in 2012 despite PM Lee’s promise to moderate

During the Nationa Day Rally in Aug last year, about 3 months after the General Election 2011, PM Lee speaking to Singaporeans assured everyone that the inflow of foreign workers will be managed and moderated

The question one needs to ask is: are things getting better a year after PM Lee made his promise at last year’s National Day Rally? More importantly, has he really managed and moderated the inflow of foreign workers?

The latest figures released by the Department of Statistics (DOS) on 28 Sep seem to tell a different story.

(figures at mid-year)SGPRFTTotal Foreigner (PR+FT)Total Singapore Population% of Foreigner in population

Where is the “tightening up on foreigners progressively” which was promised to Singaporeans

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Singapore added a little over 128,000 people over the year up to June this year. In the latest annual Population Trends publication by the Singapore Department of Statistics, the country’s total population reached 5.31 million at end-June, 2.5 per cent more than the figure a year ago.

The number of Singapore citizens grew by close to 28,000* to 3.29 million over the one-year period. If constant 28k new citizen every year, by 2016 will have extra 140k votes for pappies. That is 4% more votes.
NUS sociologist said that new citizens are more likely to vote for 

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Top of the Pops

I had a hard time deciding whether it was another one of those Marie Antoinette moments that our leaders are prone to lapse into, or if our PM was just being brutally honest (a hard truth as his old man calls it) when he was asked on Singapore’s future population. “Six million or so should not be a problem”, he said.

No doubt, you can’t fault his logic. We can build taller flats, reclaim more land and build more train lines. And after all, 6 million is hardly that many more than what the population is currently.

But is this what we want to hear from our prime minister in this national conversation that we are having, when we have been trying so hard to get through to them that our roads are clogged, that our trains and stations are breaking apart, that housing costs are rocketing because there isn’t enough to go around, that everywhere you go bar Sungei Buloh you see lots of people?

Foreign workers in Singapore rose 7.2 percent despite earlier promises by Government to tighten flow
Yahoo! News Singapore, 28 Sep 2012
The number of foreign workers in Singapore rose by about 100,000 as of the end of June this year from a year ago despite measures to slow their influx, government data released Friday showed.

The 7.2 percent increase in the number of non-residents -- those working, studying or living in Singapore but not granted permanent residency -- was "due to strong manpower demand", the National Population and Talent Division said.

The rate was higher than the 6.9 percent increase in 2011, but markedly lower than growth of 19 percent seen in 2008, the NPTD said in a report, adding that the number of non-residents rose to 1.49 million from 1.39 million. Full story

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No problem for Singapore to accomodate six million people: PM Lee Hsien Loong
Yahoo! News Singapore, 22 Sep 2012
Six million. That's the total number of people Singapore can afford to accomodate in the near future, says Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as quoted by Channel NewsAsia.

Responding to a question from the host during a recorded panel discussion on MediaCorp, PM Lee said, "It's very hard to give a concrete figure, because the situation is evolving. We're gradually increasing our land area, and if we rebuild our older towns,then we can accommodate more people."

"Today our population is over 5 million. In the future, 6 million or so should not be a problem. Beyond that, we'll have to think more carefully," Mr Lee added. Full story

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6 million people in Singapore should not be a problem

From ‘Singapore could accommodate 6 million people in future’, Today online
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Singapore could accommodate six million people in time to come. The country’s total population stood at 5.26 million as of December last year.
”It’s very hard to give a concrete figure(on Singapore’s ideal population target), because the situation is evolving. We’re gradually increasing our land area, and if we rebuild our older towns, then we can accommodate more people. Today our population is over 5 million. In the future, 6 million or so should not be a problem. Beyond that, we’ll have to think more carefully,” said Mr Lee.
6 million doesn’t seem too far off in the ‘future’, in fact, according to DBS Vickers in 2009, we could attain that figure in less than 7 years, even hitting 6.5 million in 2020.That’s hardly surprising, even if you take into account the dismal birth rate, because the ‘ideal population size’ can readily be topped up by PRs, non-residents and new residents, i.e foreign influx. In the space of a decade between 2000 and 2010, Singapore’s total population increased by 1 million, although population GROWTH actually DIPPED by 1%. By 2010, almost two-fifths of the population were PRs or non-residents.

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6 million? Are you kidding me PM?

I had a visceral reaction to the Prime Minister's matter of fact statement that Singapore can accommodate 6 million people. Something deep inside me reacted. Really. This is NOT the Singapore i want to remain in.

A population size of 6 million for Singapore is not something new. I cannot recall when, but it was proposed that for Singapore to have a critical mass for domestic market to create enough demand (and consumption) of goods and services, the population size has to hit 6 million. This model, i guess stems from looking at Hong Kong as an example, and probably viewing Hong Kong as the closest competitor to Singapore - after all, who is vying for the position as the financial hub of Asia?

I came up with two answers. One is this - this was done in the context of a forum on TV in the midst of the government's attempt to engage the citizenry in a National Conversation. This is not a conversation - a conversation begins from an invitation to dialogue. The objective is to hear each other out, and understand where the other party is coming from. This declaration that Singapore can accommodate 6 million people is not engaging in a dialogue nor is it a conversation - it is a decree.

Open Letter to PM Lee

Dear Prime Minister Lee, I am utterly disappointed to hear you saying that Singapore will have no problem to have a population of 6 million during your National Conversation exercise.

This disappointment is not derived from the fact that both of us are standing on the directly opposite positions of the political spectrum but the fact that we have such a distanced perspective and vision for Singapore as a whole. I appreciate your effort in wanting to have a National Conversation with citizens and hopefully, it also includes opposition activists like me.

However, I feel that what you and your ministers lack is not a Conversation or communication channel with Singaporeans but rather, the lack of empathy of the common people's life with different income levels.

First bad news from the National Conversation

Heard over the news that Sinkieland can take up to 6m people and anything above that could be tricky. This means we have room for another 700,000 heads to fill up every corner of the island. After that no more growth.

Our local population is 3.5m and if the growth rate is 1.5%, we could self produce about 52,000 annually. This plus another 25,000 FTs, in less than 10 years we will be filled to the brim.

As the economic growth rate of the island is tied to the increase in population, in ten years time we would likely to go into a recession unless there is continued population growth. It looks like in ten years time we will be facing serious economic growth issues unless the citizens relented and allow the govt of the day to continue to fill up the island with more people and bear with the congestion. The good thing, other than economic growth is that their ageing HDB flats will still have a chance to appreciate in value.

Singapore Will Take in Foreigners at Comfortable Pace, Lee Says

Singapore will continue to take in foreigners even as citizens complain about overcrowding and increased competition for jobs, former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew said.

“We have slowed down the intake of foreigners but we will continue taking in foreigners at a pace” that citizens “find comfortable,” Lee, 89, said at a conference in Singapore yesterday.

Singapore, which occupies an area about half the size of Houston, has added about 1 million people since the beginning of 2005 as the government allowed more immigration to make up for a declining birth rate. The influx contributed to crowded transportation and more competition for jobs, housing and places in schools, fueling voter anger that led to the ruling party’s smallest electoral win last year since independence in 1965.

Lee Kuan Yew then and now on foreign influx issue

What has happened to the old PAP which truly cared for the citizens of this country? In the past, they would be concerned about the uncouth social habits of these foreigners from third world countries – “they dirty the place… they litter”. There was genuine concern that these uncouth foreigners will bring Singapore down to their values if we take in too many.

The old PAP would be concerned about the cultural, linguistic, social and political problems to Singaporeans, created by importing too many foreigners. There was genuine concern if we are able to digest and assimilate so many of these foreigners into Singapore society.

Most important of all, the old PAP said, “I have a responsibility to you…” So, what happened in the last 33 years which caused PAP to throw these genuine concerns of the welfare of Singaporeans to the wind?

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Singapore needs foreigners to complement resident workforce: minister

Singapore needs foreign manpower to complement its resident workforce and support such sectors as construction, health and social services, Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang said Tuesday.

Foreign manpower is also needed to anchor and build up new sectors in Singapore such as the biomedical and aerospace industries, he said.

"If you train Singaporeans to fill up the sector before you launch the sector, you may lose the opportunity, and you take too long," he said

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Baby-making ideas tossed up at dialogue on population

One man asked for more financial help for couples who have trouble conceiving. A social worker suggested that more resources and support be made available to those wanting to adopt children.

And one young man jokingly suggested that all single MPs get married before the next general election, to set a good example.

From light-hearted to serious, many ideas were thrown up by participants at a dialogue on population last night, with most fixed firmly on one goal: to get Singaporeans in the family way.

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S'poreans must have honest conversation about immigration: S Iswaran

Second Trade and Industry Minister S Iswaran said Singaporeans must have an honest discussion about the country's immigration policy, no matter how unpalatable it may be.

Mr Iswaran was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a dialogue session a day after his ministry released a report on population and the economy.

It was a vigorous night-time session for the participants where they discussed the pros and cons, shared their views, and gave suggestions.

What stood out at the session, said Minister Iswaran was that there was no outright rejection of foreign manpower.

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Citizen Population Scenario

This paper discusses the demographic characteristics of our citizen population under various scenarios.

The population scenarios are not predictions or forecasts, but are illustrations of the growth and change in population that would occur if certain assumptions about future demographic trends were to prevail over the projection period. These assumptions may or may not be realised

Our citizen population demography is dependent on the following key factors:

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PMO: Singapore needs to continue attracting immigrants to slow down the decline and aging of citizens

A paper released by the National Population and Talent Division under the PMO has stated that Singapore needs to continue attracting immigrants to slow down the decline and aging of its citizen population.

By 2030, the number of elderly citizens will triple to 900,000, representing about 30% of the population. Compounding this is Singapore’s low Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of 1.2, well below the replacement rate of 2.1.

Without immigration, the National Population and Talent Division says citizen deaths will exceed births in 13 years. By 2025, the population will also start to age and shrink, with the median age being 45 – up from the current 39 years.

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Immigration Crucial to Singapore’s Growth: Govt Study

As sentiment against foreign immigrants becomes increasingly pronounced in Singapore, the government’s agency in charge of population has issued a paper saying a steady flow of immigrants is crucial to the baby-scarce city-state’s survival.

According to a report from the government’s National Population and Talent Division(NPTD), headed by deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, Singapore – with one of the lowest fertility rates in the world at 1.2 children born per woman but with a rising life expectancy – would need 25, 000 new citizens per year to keep the population stable.

“Without immigration, and if our current low total fertility rate and high life expectancy continue, the number of citizen deaths is projected to outstrip births by around 2025,” the report said. “At that point, our citizen population will start to decline.”

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Why Singapore needs new citizens

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Singapore and the Strange Tale of Population Control Policies

Truth is stranger than fiction. And weird things happen when governments decide to help you decide how many children you can have.
Take Singapore, for instance. The island nation, after gaining its independence from Malaysia in 1965 had a total fertility rate (children born per woman) north of 4.7 (down from 5.41 in 1960). As demographers know, a nation needs a TFR of 2.1 to maintain itself for the long run. The Singapore government was spooked by this high TFR and was determined to remedy the situation.

What they wound up doing is pretty clear. They put Singapore on a path to extinction. And as a result, its estimated that Singapore’s TFR hit an all-time low of 1.11 last year, which puts it at the bottom of the heap of all the countries in the world (this year the estimate is==>> 0.78). Here’s the skinny on the Singapore governments population control policies from the Library of Congress Country Studies, current up to 1989. It’s the tale of unfettered, nay, promoted, contraception, sterilizations, and abortions, from 1965-1972 until an “aha moment” in the 80′s, followed by a “pull out all the stops for babies!” move today.

Population Paper has the fundamentals wrong

Just when we thought our Government had heard the call of Singaporeans to moderate the flow of immigration, the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD), under the purview of Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, seems bent on convincing us of our folly with a policy paper (an “Occasional Paper”) heavily biased in favour of an ever-more open-door policy.

Simply put, the Occasional Paper states that Singapore’s Total Fertility Rate (TFR) is unsustainably low, and that the solution to demographic decay is immigration.

More precisely, immigration at a rate of 25,000 new citizens a year.

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Unwinnable Argument

Yesterday we had another paper from the Singapore government to defend the massive number of foreigners working in Singapore. A paper from the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) said that Singapore need an inflow of 25,000 to keep our working population stable.

NPTD report that if Singapore maintain the current fertility rate, there would be a population decline of almost 750,000 citizens by 2060. They also point out that Singaporean deaths are projected to outstrip Singaporean births by 2025, leading to a significant decline in our citizen population due to the current low fertility rates. Thus the need to maintain an inflow of foreign workers.

The problem for them...that was not what the Singapore government did! In 2008, there were 100,000 new foreign workers in Singapore. 4 times higher than the 25,000 stated in the NPTD report. There are more than 1 million non citizens working in Singapore currently. 25,000 per year is a drop in the bucket compare to 1,000,000.

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The ugly truth about TFR and foreign influx

Yesterday we heard this argument again - if Singapore's fertility rate does not go up, we have to import more foreigners.

A paper from the National Population and Talent Division, suggested that unless we get our TFR (Total Fertility Rate) up from 1.2 which is the lowest in Asia, we need an inflow of 25,000 to keep our working population stable[Immigration crucial in baby-scarce Singapore: Govt paper]."Without immigration, the paper shows that citizen deaths will exceed births in 13 years. By 2025, the population will also start to age and shrink, with the median age being 45 - up from the current 39 years.

The citizen workforce will also start to shrink, with fewer working-age citizens supporting each elderly citizens.

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No let up in push for 6m population

Another big convincing article in the ST, and in other news media, telling how precarious the country will be if there is no intake of immigrants. The need for population growth or replacement is a critical issue and without growth or at least replacement it is like we are going to perish. This one track mind on population growth and economic growth will not change and will be the basis for all other policies of the country.

Why must there be population growth to survive? The fact is that if every country goes on this path, the world will come to an end faster. This world, and this island, needs lesser population growth. Lesser population and less growth in economic numbers do not directly lead to lower quality of life. We were 1m and 2m before. We survived very well. Why a need for 6m or 10m?

Better economic growth? More people, more demand for goods and services, more jobs, more housing, but lesser space for everyone. And replacing Sinkies with foreigners so that the country can be proud of great economic numbers?

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Kicking Out The Chaff

Richard Hartung is a consultant who has lived in Singapore since 1992, what we do not know is whether he has taken up citizenship after 20 years of immersion. What we do know is that his expat friends have gotten word of employment pass renewal rejections, and even permanent residents' (PR) re-entry permits are not being renewed as (easily as before). Writing plainly with sympathy to their cause, he quotes one blogger: "It's pot luck … Doesn't seem to be any rhyme nor reason." Or is it?

Well, we now know that the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) is targeting an intake of 20,000 to 25,000 to keep the population size stable, whatever that means.

In countries that have free healthcare and social welfare for the needy, the number of working age available to support elderly citizens is a significant ratio in demography. In Singapore, young or old, our individual CPF balance is our own lifeline. Ask for a discount in transport fare, and the ogre of a minister will threaten to increase the GST.

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Total Fertility Rate and foreign influx

Yesterday we heard this argument again – if Singapore’s fertility rate does not go up, we have to import more foreigners. A paper from the National Population and Talent Division, suggested that unless we get our TFR (Total Fertility Rate) up from 1.2 which is the lowest in Asia, we need an inflow of 25,000 to keep our working population stable[Immigration crucial in baby-scarce Singapore: Govt paper].
“Without immigration, the paper shows that citizen deaths will exceed births in 13 years. By 2025, the population will also start to age and shrink, with the median age being 45 – up from the current 39 years.
The citizen workforce will also start to shrink, with fewer working-age citizens supporting each elderly citizens.
Currently, there are 6.3 working-age citizens supporting each elderly citizen.
By 2030, this ratio will drop to 2.1 is to 1.” – Today Report [Link]
I haven’t gone through the numbers but lets take it that it is correct and reasonable to maintain a workforce of a constant size. That is not what the PAP govt did in the last 10 years – they were not maintaining the workforce but expanding it to ramp up the GDP:

The above chart shows just the new PRs + new citizens [Link]does not include the large non-resident workforce of more than 1 million (see previous posting).

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Unlike HK, Singapore has easy access to cheap foreign labour

UNLIKE Hong Kong, the market forces of demand and supply do not apply here because of the abundant source of cheap foreign labour ('About that superior Hong Kong wage comparison...' by Mr Toh Cheng Seong; last Saturday).

The buoyant economy and slow productivity growth over decades discouraged mechanisation, and so the construction industry here lags behind that of Hong Kong.

We should not accept the widening income gap any longer. It is easy to insist that higher wages must be predicated with higher productivity and economic growth to meet global competitiveness.

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Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize- winning economist and Columbia University professor is right. The GFC exposed “major flaws” in prevailing ideas [Link]. Amongst these were financial markets are efficient and competitively priced of resources allocation; economic participants behaved rationally and have equal access to information.

I want to add a few more of these now-flawed premises – “BIG” population is beautiful and government-know-it-all of solutions in resolution of the GFC – are also complete nonsense. Why? The excesses of “BIG” asset bubble economy, after that burst, threw millions out of work, into poverty and knife edge struggle for survival in two of the largest economic “prosperity” blocs – US and Europe. In the reality of globalized economies, you can’t make elephant dance, particularly for open and export-dependent economies most vulnerable to economic turbulence.

Big population supplying huge labor input is toxic and Singapore being without a strong captive external sector supporting indigenous manufacturing are at elevated risks of magnified impact of another major global economic downturn. Obesity implies higher risks of employment redundancy in a repeat of another GFC.

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Comparing Canada's high standard for PR approval to S'pore's suka suka policy

I have made a few posts regarding Singapore's lax entry requirements for PRs such that we now have any Tom Dick and Harry in the streets. Anyone with skills, or no skills, or any skills, will do. Rojak.

Many developed countries only accept PRs with the skills the host country wants. Canada is one of the highest sought place to emigrate. It has about one of the longest waiting period of approval due to the super long queue.

Today, in 2012, as the number of migrants fill up the quota, Canada has decided to raise the criteria bar higher. Here is a report from the Straits Times.

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Singaporeans either reproduce more or be prepared to get replaced by migrants and work permit holders : Lee Kuan Yew
Yahoo! News Singapore, 12 Aug 2012
Lee acknowledged the pivotal role that work permit holders have played in building Singapore’s infrastructure, and the contribution of permanent residents, without which he said the country’s population would be older, smaller and would lose vitality.

Further, he noted that in the long term, Singapore’s “educated men and women must decide whether to replace themselves in the next generation”. Currently, 31 per cent of women and 41 per cent of men are choosing not to do so, he noted.

“But we’ve got to persuade people to understand that getting married is important, having children is important,” he said. “Do we want to replace ourselves or do we want to shrink and get older and be replaced by migrants and work permit holders? That’s the simple question.” Full story

S'pore to lose majority to migrants if declining birth rates continue - The Malay Mail
Singapore's former minister mentor concerns about low birth rate - Xinhua

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Dr Tommy Koh reflects on immigration and integration
Dr Tommy Koh: "We are one of the least xenophobic people in the world" 

ONE of the major themes of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally speech on Sunday is immigration.

PM Lee explained the imperative for Singapore to welcome immigrants, in order to make up for the deficit resulting from our low fertility and in order to benefit from the brain power and cultural diversity which the highly educated and talented migrants bring with them. The PM called upon Singaporeans to be bighearted in welcoming them. He also called upon the migrants to make greater efforts to integrate into Singapore. I have three reflections on the subject of immigration and integration.

First, I wish to remind ourselves that we are an immigrant nation. With few exceptions, most of us are the descendants of immigrants who have settled here from other parts of Asia and the wider world. My grandfather left his home district of Tong An, in China’s Fujian province, because of anarchy, poverty and the lack of opportunity. My mother was a first-generation immigrant from Shanghai. On my father’s side, I am therefore a third-generation Singaporean. On my mother’s side, I am a second-generation Singaporean.

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Low birth rate – stop persuading and start addressing existing problems faced by parents
Since the ’80s, the Government has introduced more measures to try and up the birth rate in Singapore – to no avail. (See here.)

Some 94 per cent of those polled in a Channelnesasia survey after PM Lee’s National Day Rally speech said the measures he announced to encourage Singaporeans to have babies will not help raise the birth rate. Some have used this to ridicule the prime minister.

But underlying all these measures is a serious concern, as with any country which is facing the same situation. Their governments too have tried and are trying all kinds of measures to prop up their birth rates too. So, while we may ridicule and laugh at the measures instituted by the Government, we should give some thoughts to this – unless one is convicted that a falling population will not hurt our prosperity or progress.

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Why are Malays having more babies?
The forum letter, as it appeared in The Straits Times on Wednesday. (Yahoo! photo)

When asked about the letter, 26-year-old project manager Nur Anisa told Yahoo! Singapore she agrees with the point Goh made about having a strong network of family caregivers.

"Grandmothers, aunts and even neighbours are willing to take care of the children if the mothers have to work, and we do have a very close-knit community--that really does help," she said, adding that Malays place a great amount of value and emphasis on the family and in having families.

She stressed that Malays do not dismiss the importance of career progression and financial security, but said simply that they typically value their families much more.

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Govt seeks public views on population challenges

For the first time, the National Population and Talent Division has made available a document online at containing facts and figures of the current population and issues that the Singapore society has to grapple with in the coming years.

Among others, the Government is hoping to solicit feedback on topics ranging from encouraging early marriage and children as well as views on the need for foreign workers.

Currently, there are 5.26 million people here, of which, 3.8 million are citizens and permanent residents. Non-residents, which largely consist of work permit holders, stand at 1.46 million.

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Luring back the Singapore Stork
This is in spite of the generous Baby Bonus scheme, tax rebates for parents, extended maternity leave and various inter-ministerial committees – such as the Tripartite Committee on Work-Life Strategy and The Working Committee on Marriage and Procreation - set up specifically to address this issue.

So the government continues to crack its brains to devise new ways to urge the island’s married couples to reproduce.

It is forming the new Ministry of Social and Family Development in November, which will be headed by current MCYS Minister Chan Chun Sing. Mr Chan said that he will be seeking feedback from various sources over how to tackle this worrying trend.

A History of Singapore’s Population Control, 1947 ~ 2001

According to the government, a significant reason Singapore is opening up to foreign workers and immigrants is because our fertility rate is currently one of the lowest in the world at 1.2 TFR (total fertility rate).

In this article, we present a visual look at how for more than 30 years since 1947, the Singapore government has introduced birth control measures to bring down the population, and how from 1977 onwards till now, the government has battled Singapore’s ever decreasing birth rate with little success.

Fertility rate comparison between Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Korea, and the world.

From 1947 all the way to the early ’70s, the Singapore government was concerned how given our small land area and (then) small economy, overpopulation will lead to lower a lower quality of life across the board for all Singaporeans – more mouths to compete for scarce resources

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The making of another tragedy

The govt is going all out to convince the people that bigger and bigger population is good for the country and people, more lively, more alive, richer, vibrant and prosperity for all. And for the sake of this glorious future, Sinkies are encouraged to have babies for all the wrong reasons. The primary reason is economics, to support the ageing population.

When the reasons for having babies do not include whether the parents want the babies, love to have babies, can afford to have babies, it baffles the logic of any reasonable and caring man. How responsible it is to ask people, with no regards to their emotional and psychological needs and financial ability to go and make babies?

Babies that are born not out of parental love and needs but to serve the country and nation are simply the products of a tragedy, a misguided logic for their existence. And this tragedy or pain is hundreds of times more than the two years of NS and 20 years of reservist liabilities. The commitment and responsibilities, including having the money to give these children a decent life, start the day they are conceived and would not end till they are financially independent. What about those who are not gifted to struggle successfully in this highly competitive city? Who’s responsibility to provide for them?

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The drive for more babies...and the wrongheadedness of the approach

The government is getting there...but still does not quite get it. Or chooses not to get it. Or believes it can have its cake and eat it too. Wishful thinking.

There were 2 articles and an editorial on encouraging Singaporean couples to have more babies. Very briefly, the first article was on NTUC pushing for 6 months paid maternity leave and an option to take a further 6 months unpaid. The second article was on changing employers' mindset to make for a more baby and mother friendly work environment. Finally, the editorial was on how a holistic approach was needed to encourage more babies, ranging from more hands-on fathers, to affordable childcare and preschool.

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

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OPINION: Using low fertility rate as an excuse to mass import foreigners

In the past the govt has put forth many other reasons for the foreign influx - businesses find it hard to get Singapore workers, there are jobs Singaporeans won't take, there are skills we cannot find among Singaporeans. It is problematic to use these reasons justify the large influx and does not explain why foreigners are imported for jobs that Singaporeans also do and no employer is required to show proof that he cannot get a Singaporean to do the job when reasonable wages are paid. Maybe this is why the govt has chosen to use the low fertility rate of Singaporeans as a justification for importing more people

The Singapore govt brought in 5-10 times the people needed to make up for our shortfall in fertility rate. These numbers do not include the non-PRs here on work permits and employment passes. Basically, when you look around and see a lot of foreigners and new citizens, they are here not because our fertility rate is low,

The main reason for the large influx is to generate economic growth by expanding the workforce and to meet the demands of employers who do not want to pay higher wages to hire Singaporeans. Full time

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Singapore and the Strange Tale of Population Control Policies 

Truth is stranger than fiction. And weird things happen when governments decide to help you decide how many children you can have 

Take Singapore, for instance. The island nation, after gaining its independence from Malaysia in 1965 had a total fertility rate (children born per woman)north of 4.7 (down from 5.41 in 1960). As demographers know, a nation needs a TFR of 2.1 to maintain itself for the long run. The Singapore government was spooked by this high TFR and was determined to remedy the situation 

What they wound up doing is pretty clear. They put Singapore on a path to extinction. And as a result, its estimated that Singapore’s TFR hit an all-time low of 1.11 last year, which puts it at the bottom of the heap of all the countries in the world. Here’s the skinny on the Singapore governments population control policies from the Library of Congress Country Studies, current up to 1989. It’s the tale of unfettered, nay,promoted,

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AWARE: Improving fertility requires re-examining all policies that affect quality of life in Singapore 

In response to the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD)’s invitation for public feedback on improving Singapore’s birth rate, AWARE has submitted our recommendations for population-related policies that pertain to Singapore’s Total Fertility Rate (TFR) and measures to encourage parenthood.

TFR and parenthood are issues that are inextricably linked to perceptions about the quality of life in Singapore. If citizens do not have a sense of well-being and security, they will not be inclined to take on additional responsibilities of parenting and caregiving. It is therefore necessary to address all policies that affect our citizens’ quality of life, including those on education, health, housing, employment and retirement.

The following are some of the recommendations that we have submitted to the NPTD:

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Rethink our immigration policy

The free movement of people is not only a basic human right but also contributes to economic growth Just as the free movement of goods and capital, the movement of people brings in new knowledge and ideas to the labor market and strengthens the country.

However, the need for immigration should not be seen as the main solution to any labor shortage – real or perceived.

Labor shortages are generally cause by either shortages of proficient workers in particular fields. For example, if a school system is geared towards producing only scientists or engineers, there is likely to be a shortage of artists or creative individuals; or alternatively, a snowball effect due to an imbalance between salaries and the cost-of-living.

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Nation, city state, globalized-city : What will our future be?

"You see, people in Singapore, they're pampered. They're not seeing how crowded Tokyo or Hong Kong or London or New York subway is. And therefore, they think it is very crowded. But Singapore has only 5 million. And I think if you plan it properly, I think we can live comfortably with 8 million" - TAN GEK YAP, NUS[Link]

Singapore is different from cities like New York, Tokyo and KL which can be filled by people living else where in the same country....and those who don't like the place can find other parts of the country to go to...for an American there are plenty of options from the east coast to the west coast of this big country. Singaporeans have no other options if they want to stay in their home country. The other difference between us and Tokyo or New York is although our population is still smaller than these cities. New York like most other American cities has a population density that is one quarter that of Singapore's. Because the city is located with a country, the city limits can be shifted as the population grows. Singapore cannot expand its land area except through reclamation i.e. our land area for the city is limited.

In order to grow to 8M, there is only one way - import people and increase the population density.

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Gov’t tackles immigration challenges head-on, seeks public feedback

The Government recognises that Singapore cannot grow its foreigner population indefinitely and is now seeking public views as it sets out to formulate a sustainable population policy.

In a paper released on Thursday, the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) noted that the Government has to calibrate the inflow of foreigners into the workforce to “support a shift to a higher value, more productive economy”.

Several measures already put in place, including higher levies, lower Dependency Ratio Ceilings and higher income and education criteria for the foreign workforce, have been progressively tightened across all skills levels.

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Population feedback: What statistics are missing?

I refer to the Issues Paper, Our Population Our Future, July 2012, published by the National Population and Talent Division of the Prime Minister’s Office, which is seeking feedback from Singaporeans.

In order for Singaporeans to give more meaningful feedback, I would like to suggest that the population statistics be further broken down in the following areas:

Occupation and salaries - What are the occupations and salaries of the 6, 12 and 46% of S Pass, Employment Pass and Work Permit Holders, respectively, of the total Non-Resident Population?

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Anger against open door policy

Rising public quarrels between Singaporeans and foreign immigrants show that the government’s policy of mass importing of foreigners to boost the economy and correct a declining birthrate is going badly.

THE possibility of violent conflicts breaking out between locals and new immigrants is occupying centre-stage in the minds of the government in Singapore.

In recent years, the level of anger has been rising as public quarrels between resentful Singaporeans and provocative foreign immigrants increased in number and intensity.

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Thanks To PAP's Liberal Acceptance of Immigrants, We Are Fooked AfookGAIN!

The tenor of the debate has unnerved some Chinese immigrants, and angered others. Wang Quancheng, the chairman of the Hua Yuan Association, the largest organization representing mainlanders, said the government was not doing enough to help integrate new arrivals, but he also blamed Singaporeans for their intolerance and said many were simply jealous that so many Chinese immigrate here with money in their pockets.

“Of course, the new arrivals are rich or else the government would have to feed them,” he said. “Some locals are very lazy and live off the government. When new immigrants come, they think it is competition, taking away their rice bowls.” [Link] and [Link]

We were called "dogs" and our PAP leader (Was it a certain Mr Baey???) asked us to look within ourselves and reflect. Now we are deemed to be intolerant, jealous "very lazy and live off the government" and we are supposed to suck it all up for the orgasmic thrill of Wang Quancheng, the chairman of the Hua Yuan Association?

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Integration, an exercise in futility

What or who are Sinkies supposed to integrate with, the foreign workers, maids, the EP talents, definitely not the real super foreign talents? The latter no need to integrate. Or are the Sinkies supposed to integrate only with the new citizens and PRs or with all of them?

Not only this is a problem, there are many conditions and developments that made integration just that unrealistic. Those who remembered, we used to have Integrated Schools in the 60s and 70s, to integrate our young as people of a nation. That was the right place to start with, the impressionable young.

And from schools to working life, there will be plenty of time to get to know each other even as acquaintance. We have achieved some degree of social cohesion over the years, over many years, not days. And we have a people, though of various races, but already here for generations and quite adapted to the culture and social norms.

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Singapore population reaches 5.26 million

Out of the 5.26m, 3.27m are Singapore citizen and 0.54m are Permanent Residents. Remaining 1.46m are work permit holder, employment pass holder, foreign domestic workers,


Between 2007 to 2011, a total of 92,310 new Singapore Citizenship were granted. That is quite a huge number.

See Video: Our Singapore Story

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'Singapore needs 30,000 immigrants a year for economic growth'

Singapore needs to take in 30,000 immigrants a year to support its economic growth and offset the impact of the slowdown caused by the ageing local population, a study on the city state's demography has said.

The Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) research concluded that Singapore would have to take in 30,000 new citizens or permanent residents every year if the country's total fertility rate remained at 1.24.

The study included those in Singapore on work permits, long-term social visit passes and foreign students. The study said that a higher non-resident population would mean a larger total population of 6.8 million in 2030, if the proportion of foreigners in the population is raised to 33 per cent.

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NPTD: Our Population, Our Future

Peter Drucker was right that the silver haired are selfish and think little of the next generation except those belonging to their families. This will lead to the unintended Tragedy of the Commons scenario. The younger generation do not know that this may be the only government in the world that think and care more about their future than any in the world.

The more experienced and powerful voice of the old will try even harder to make their final days here more pleasant, but it will often come at the expense of the young. In fact Law and Foreign Affairs minister K. Shanmugam had rued publicly about this.

On this the Chinese concept of filial piety is easily abused. I was fortunate that my late parents always place their grand childrens' welfare ahead of theirs. I know some parents see their children as their pension plan. A very bad idea for the kind of world we live in today.

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Govt needs your feedback on population issues

Some interesting highlights of the paper: 
• As at Dec 2011:

  • Singaporeans – 3.27 million

  • PRs – 0.54 million

  • Foreigners – 1.46 million
• That means as at Dec 2011:

  • Singaporeans – 3.27 million (62%)

  • Non-Singaporeans – 2.0 million (38%)

  • Total population – 5.27 million
• Of the 1.46 million foreigners (PRs not included):

  • Work Permit Holders – 46%

  • Foreign Domestic Workers – 14%

  • Dependent Pass Holders – 15%

  • Student Pass Holders – 6%

  • Employment Pass Holders – 12%

  • S-Pass Holders – 8%
• Sectors which foreign manpower (PRs not included) work in:

  • Services – 43%

  • Construction – 30%

  • Manufacturing – 27%

  • Others – 0.4%
• 63% of all PRs granted were under 30 years old
• 53% of new citizens were under 30 years old
• 38% of new citizens were granted to working individuals, while 62% were dependents.
NPTD is seeking public feedback on this matter through its newly launched population website at The public can also send their feedback through . The public consultation process will run till 31 Oct 2012.

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Rapid GDP growth thru population growth is cancerous growth

“The times are changing, the population is changing, the expectations are changing. Singapore’s society is now more diverse and complex now that new citizens from India hail from many regions of the sub-continent,” Lee Hsien Loong

Hsien Loong spoke to the Indian community on how to integrate the India Indians from northern India into our society. Their presence, and the presence of China Chinese and others, are making our country more diverse and more complex, and definitely with more complex problems. Do we need these problems in the first place? Do we need so many foreigners to raise our economic growth data?

Economic growth, plus inflation, and higher cost of living, congestion and competition for goods and services if not accompanied by real income growth, is making life more difficult and inconvenient, and costly of course, to many Singaporeans. If the income growth does not exceed all the cost of inflation it is as good as downgrading, taking a pay cut.

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5 Citizen Population Scenarios - NPTD

Population will shrink from 2025 without new citizens Pool of working age citizens will also drop steadily from 2.1m today

SINGAPORE needs 20,000 to 25,000 new citizens each year to prevent a decline in its citizen population from 2025, new government projections show.

That assumes no big uptick in the number of Singaporean babies born here. The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) is now 1.2, one of the lowest in the world. If it stays put, and the door to new migrants is shut from this year, the citizen population will start shrinking in 13 years' time

The pool of working age citizens will also drop steadily from today's 2.1 million to about 1.5 million in 2060.

These are some of the five scenarios in a paper that the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) released yesterday.

As the lead agency for the Government on population matters, it is conducting a comprehensive examination of population goals and policies, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean announced during the Budget debate.

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Can we cope with 8 million on the island?
Much depends on how we plan - and provide - services to meet growing needs
Xenophobia is alive and well around the world, including in some corners of this island.

Just look at the vitriol being spewed on the Internet against foreigners in the wake of the tragic accident on Rochor Road involving a speed demon from Sichuan.

A foreign observer might be forgiven for concluding that Singapore is not far off from spawning a nationalist party, whose rallying cry might be the mantra now being spouted by politicians of every stripe: 'Singaporeans first.'

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A different perspective to population growth

We need population growth to generate economic growth to enjoy a better quality of life. This is the biggest bullshit to come out from any sensible person. Population growth is not the only factor that leads to growth and a better quality of life.

The sure things about population growth are inflation, congestion, higher demand for goods and services and many undesirable social and economic consequences that cannot justify the little benefits of growth.

Take a continent like Australia as an example. If with 50m, they can enjoy the whole continent, be productive enough to grow all the food and wine to make merry, why do they need to rush the population to 100m?

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What price a slowing population?

Making babies is fun and good for economic growth (sexing up a lede has never been so easy). Nomura has taken a shot at calculating just how significantly population changes can hit GDP. Their conclusion is that:
[A]lthough a population decline will dent GDP growth and inflation, the degree of correlation is not that high and the negative impact may not be as large as some observers fear. 
Analysis using international data indicate that growth in the working-age population and changes in the dependency ratio have a greater impact on economic growth than overall population growth per se, and that demographics have been having a larger impact on economic growth in recent years. 
Anywhere, here are two tables detailing Nomura’s best guesses about the impact of demographic changes on a host of countries.
The biggest losers according to Nomura look to be Japan, Singapore, Spain and China – where the bank estimates demographic changes will depress economic growth by 1.6–3.7 percentage points from current levels. Some charts (click to enlarge):

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What Does Zero Population Growth Mean?

In the past two centuries, the world's population has exploded. This has caused worries that humanity shall eventually "overpopulate" the earth and leave many without resources. To solve this dilemma, some people have promoted the idea of zero population growth


  • Zero population growth means the size of a population does not expand or retract. This occurs by replacing a member of a population only when he dies.


  • In 1798, political economist Thomas Malthus proposed that society should attempt to achieve a zero population growth rate because the numbers of a community will eventually outstrip its resources.

  • Countries that have high birth rates, usually developing nations, receive about $900 a year as of 2009 as part of efforts by other governments to promote zero population growth, according to


  • A zero population growth rate does not mean that people produce fewer offspring. In Africa, for example, population growth rates are slowing, but only because of the drastic increase in deaths from AIDS.


  • Since the Earth contains a limited amount of space, population growth rates will need to reach zero or even decline at some point in the future. However, the Earth's maximum carrying capacity can continue to grow as technology keeps increasing food production.

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Population Of Singapore

Despite lacking natural resources, the densely populated island state of Singapore rose to the status of “first-world” thanks to the sheer hard work, adaptability and resilience of its population. Originally inhabited by Malay fishermen, Singapore's shores brought immigrants from China, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and other parts of the world post-British arrival.

Malay is one of the four official languages of Singapore.The country's national anthem is sung in Malay. However, English is the language of business and administration and is widely spoken and understood. Most Singaporeans are bilingual and speak both their mother tongue as well as English fluently

Singapore Population Statistics

Singapore Population Age PyramidSingapore Resident Population
Singapore Population Age Pyramid
(Source :
Singapore Resident Population
(Source :

Before independence, two factors determined Singapore's population: integrative effect of migration and natural increase. But after 1965, the government of Singapore under Prime Minister Lee Yuan Kew imposed strict controls on immigration, granting only temporary residence permits to workers whose labor or skills were considered beneficial to the economy. According to government statistics for the year 2011, the population of Singapore was around 5,183,700.

The dominant ethnic groups are the Chinese (74.1%), Malays (13.4%) and Indians (9.2%). Others (Eurasians, Arabs, Jews) comprise 3.3% of the population. Literacy rate of Singapore stands at 95.9%.

Since independence, the Singapore government has implemented effective population control policies through publicity, exhortation, material incentives and disincentives.

The Family Planning and Population Board set up in 1966 played a major role in population control as it provided clinical services and public education on family planning. Throughout the 1970s, Singapore experienced low-birth rates and this, in turn, resulted in increase of income, education, women's participation in paid employment and control of diseases. By the 80s, the government became concerned about the low rate of population growth and revamped its family planning programme by offering new package of incentives.

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Total population of Singapore
Total Population
Singapore Residents
1970 (Census)
1980 (Census)
1990 (Census)
2000 (Census)

Data for 1980 and earlier Censuses refer to all persons present in Singapore and enumerated on Census Day. Data from 2000 onwards are based on the register-based approach.

Total population comprises Singapore residents and non-residents. Resident population comprises Singapore citizens and permanent residents.

Data from 2003 onwards exclude residents who have been away from Singapore for a continuous period of 12 months or longer as at the reference period

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Singapore population hits 5.61m
Singapore population hits 5.54m
Population and Immigrants
Alternative 'Blue Paper' On SG Population
Voice Of The People @ Hong Lim Park
A Photo Documentary Of Hong Lim Protest
Large Turnout At Protest Against Population White Paper
The White Paper & The Singaporean Core
Afterthoughts Of The White Paper on Population
"Worst-case Scenario" Of A 6.9 Million Population
Parliament endorses Population White Paper
Planned Protest Against Population White Paper
Parliament Debates WP's Proposals
Parliament Debates Population White Paper
SG White Paper On Population
Our SG Population