Singapore Wrestles: Growth vs. Finiteness
If you refer to the CIA Factbook on Singapore, you will find that “Singapore has a highly developed and successful free-market economy. It enjoys a remarkably open and corruption-free environment, stable prices, and a per capita GDP higher than that of most developed countries.” Singapore was also the site of a focused family planning program from the years after WWII until the 1980′s, achieving a TFR of 1.7 in 1980. Singapore’s current fertility rate is one of the lowest in the world at around 1.16. The population size is now just over 5 million, all of whom reside on an island roughly 30 miles long and 16 miles wide.
Another remarkable thing about Singapore is a website called “Our Population, Our Future: Public Engagement on Population Challenges” which went up just a few days ago as part of the Singapore governments self-described attempts to “build a sustainable population that strengthens our social cohesion, while providing a good living environment for our people, and maintaining our economic vitality.”
I hope you will visit the website and watch the video that appears on the homepage, and read the “issue introduction” I have pasted below.
Video link: http://vimeo.com/45302314
Building a Good Future for Singaporeans
Our citizen population has reached a turning point this year as our first cohort of baby boomers turn 65. At current birth rates and with no immigration, the number of Singapore Citizens (SCs) aged 65 and above will triple to 900,000 by 2030. There will be a smaller base of working-age citizens as our citizen population and workforce will age and decline. This is a significant demographic challenge facing Singapore which will soon be upon us. We need to take action early to address these issues.
In the last few decades, Singapore has developed into a global city and economic hub. Like other major global cities, Singapore is a place where people want to come to live and work. We have diverse education and job opportunities, a good quality of life, rising real wages and a safe environment for families. These have benefitted Singaporeans, and are what draw others to Singapore.
Our intake of new citizens increased from an average of 8,200 per year between 1987 and 2006, to about 18,500 per year in the last 5 years. We also took in an average of 58,000 Permanent Residents (PRs) per year between 2004 and 2008, but have tightened our immigration framework since late-2009 and reduced the intake to an average of 28,500 per year from 2010 onwards.
The number of foreigners who have come to Singapore to work has also grown, in response to our social and economic needs.
However, there are concerns arising from the fast pace of population growth. We are experiencing congestion on our transport systems and a tight housing market. The development of supporting infrastructure did not keep pace with population growth.
To read more, please click here: http://www.population.sg/introduction/#.UBLqlKA0zqI