Government Policy and Fertility Rates

As Total Fertility Rate (TFR) fell below replacement rate from 1977, the government went on to reverse the antinatalist thrusts with pronatalists plans to encourage births. These ranged from Baby Bonuses to Paid Child Care Leave. Yet as of 2010, TFR remained low with a near constant downward trend from the late 1980s.

Some critics may suggest that local policies have not been as comprehensive or extensive as compared to Sweden or France. In France, even train fares are reduced for larger families. Anecdotally, married couples in Singapore have chosen to remain childless or to restrict childbirths as they feel they cannot provide sufficient care/attention.

Yet this is to ignore the social, cultural and economic forces working against the policies. People had been receiving more education and therefore delaying childbirth due to their careers. There is also now a trend to keep families small. The exact reasons for this is not completely clear though the desire to maintain living standards could be one factor.

Reference

Saw Swee-Hock. The Population of Singapore. 3rd Edition. Singapore, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. (2012).

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