|From Straits Times 25 April|
In yesterday's Straits Times report titled "Population will shrink from 2025 without new citizens", the government argues that the island nation needs 20,000 to 25,000 new citizens each year to arrest the decline in the population. Singapore's fertility rate of 1.2% is one of the lowest in the world.
What does a shrinking population mean? At one end, the fertility rate is going down, but at the other end, the mortality rate is also declining. The net result is an increasingly smaller pool of working adults having to support a growing number of older people.
|The scenario in 2030 - a ratio of two working adults to one elderly citizen. A heavy burden indeed. Think of this as two adult children shouldering the responsibility of supporting their elderly parent, instead of five or more sharing the costs.|
This is one of the reasons why the government has been encouraging the intake of permanent residents over the years. It is from this pool that new citizens will emerge. The number of Singapore permanent residents almost doubled from 287,500 in 2000 to 541,000 in 2010.
In recent years, Singaporeans have been more vocal about their unhappiness over the large influx of foreign workers and expats, and the relative ease of obtaining PR status and benefits. In response, the government has made it tougher for foreigners to obtain PR status.
|Malaysians account for the largest number of PRs.|
However, the government continues to express concern over the growing ageing population. According to the report, from now to 2030, over 900,000 baby boomers will retire from the workforce. Hence, the need to push for at least 20,000 new citizens each year to sustain labour force productivity. But many Singaporeans remain unconvinced that the solution lies in raising the number of PRs in their country.
Note: For more information on population data, go to http://sg.sg/Ik5mKs.