Singapore's fertility rate has fallen to a record low of 1.16[Link] per woman. This is down from last year's rate of 1.22.
He said the government would continue encouraging couples to produce more children, but admitted that raising the fertility rate would take time.
"For the foreseeable future, we will need to tap on immigration to augment our poprriulation, to support economic growth and to mitigate the impact of ageing," - Wong Kan Seng[Link]
Looks like falling fertility rate will now be used as the reason to import more foreigners. In the past we were told we need foreigners for their special skills. Then we were told we need foreigners to create jobs for Singaporeans. We have also been told that foreigners are here to take up jobs that Singaporeans do not want. Now the latest reason for increasing the foreign influx is our fertility rate is low. Singapore has the lowest fertility rate in the world if we count independent nations - if we count territories Singapore is 223 out of 226. We are above only Hong Kong & Macau which are part of China[Link].
I want to show you some charts of results of some countries that have intervened when the fertility rates fell[Australia][Sweden][Finland] and managed to turn their fertility rates around. You noticed that low fertility rates correlate with high population densities in places such as Hong Kong & Macau and Japan where the cost of housing and living is also high relative to income. So importing foreigners and over-populating our little island is likely going to make it worse - importing foreigners using low fertility as an excuse is going to plunge us into a disastrous vicious cycle....disastrous for locally born Singaporeans who will diminsih in numbers but perhaps acceptable to the PAP govt that sees Singapore as Singapore Inc so it doesn't matter to them where workers come from so long as GDP grows.
Importing foreigners and quickly converting them to Singaporeans does not solve the problem of an ageing population because they too will age and we will have an even bigger ageing population to deal with in the coming decades. So the long term solution has to be to get fertility rate up and reach a stable steady state fertility of 2.1. So far the govt has been unsuccessful.... and ineffective. How come they can do it in Australia but not in Singapore?....I tell you one of the reasons...but lets start with a story............
On Friday I took a taxi instead of the bus home to save time but tbe idea backfired. I paid a whopping $52 for my taxi fare. Yes, $52! Why? There was an accident somewhere at Rochor Road and I spent something like 1.5 hours stuck in the jam on the ECP. Spend money and get home later...tired, frustrated and poorer. The only good thing about being in the taxi for 1.5 hours was the taxi driver was quite talkative and had plenty to say about the govt - some of which is not so suitable for posting on my blog. Somewhere along the ECP the taxi said, "I felt the govt 'cheated' me when I had my third child". Cheated? That is a bit of a strong word to use. He told me that he had his 3rd child when he heard that govt was giving out $20K to encourage people to have more children. When his 3rd child was born, he waited for the govt to send him a cheque. He waited and waited but there was no cheque in the mail so he called up the ministry to find out what is going on. They told him the $20K is given out in the form of tax rebates and he would have to claim as rebates when he filed his taxes. It had to be used within 5 years. When he couldn't use up the $20K in 5 years they extended it to 7 years. At the end of 7 years, he got about $2K in rebates and $18K of the rebates was 'returned' to the govt. The same thing happens to many other lower income couples - they get little when they have children. The govt also gives out something known as baby bonus in which the govt gives out matching funds up to $8K(?) dollar for dollar to parents who put money in a baby bonus account - poor parents usually do not get the full amount because they cannot afford to set aside the money.
See the problem with these incentives. They give more money to the richer parents who are usually not motivated by money since they already have plenty and deny financial incentives to poor parents who love children and would be motivated by financial help. When the PAP says it wants to encourage Singaporeans to have more children, they do not mean ALL Singaporeans....they just want rich Singaporeans to have more children, They don't like the idea of parents who are not rich having more children hence they give out money in the form of tax rebates. In the eighties, they were even more blatant. The incentives were targetted at graduate mothers to have more children - you may ask why graduate mothers and not fathers? It is mentioned in one of LKY's speeches that he believes intelligence comes from the mother's genes[Read Population and Eugenics: Singapore's population policies]. In Australia, Finland and Sweden their policies to increase fertility rate encourages all parents to have more children not just selected members of society. That is why they have succeeded and the PAP govt has not....but PAP's failure is not going to bring disaster to itself but to ordinary Singaporeans who are fast losing their identity and their future.