Photo of Singapore MBS from AFP

In the latest population population report by the National Talent and Population Division (NTPD), Singapore’s birth rate has continued to fall from 33,725 in 2016 to 33,167 births in 2017. Singapore currently has the world’s lowest birth rate at 1.20 for the second straight year.

According to the report, the population has also increased further to 5.61 million in 2017 and the median age has increased to 41.3 from 41 last year. There are more elderly aged above 65 years old in 2017 at 14.4%, compared to 13.7% a year ago. Citizen old-age support ratio has also declined to 4.4 in 2017 from 4.7 last year.

The low birth rate is resulted from low purchasing power in the high cost environment. Retirement worries, lack of cash savings, housing affordability and increasing cost of living are some of the major deterrence to family-building in Singapore.

Missing in the population report is the number of Singaporean emigration. In the last official report in 2011, about 11,000 Singaporeans gave up their Singapore passport and emigrated. The figure has been censored by the government as it is perceived as “negative”.  According to a report by a government university, the number of Singaporeans relocating has hit an all time high of 6% with 213,400 in 2016. This is a 24% jump from 172,000 nine years ago in 2007.