30 Nov 2004

Singapore Aims for More Babies, Immigration

Mon Nov 29, 2004 09:49 AM ET

By Jason Szep
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore, facing a record-low birth rate and an aging workforce, is aiming for a 40 percent rise in the number of babies born a year following new pro-fertility steps designed to rekindle the embers of romance.

Singapore's government was also looking at other ways to expand its population, including increasing its foreign workers, said Junior Finance Minister Lim Hwee Hua, a member of the government's "Working Committee on Population."

Singapore is grappling with one of Asia's lowest birth rates, with the number of babies born each year well below the 2.1 per woman needed to replenish its population.

In an interview with Reuters, Lim said Singapore needed more babies and more foreign workers to counter a rapidly aging workforce and to fill jobs in service industries that will lead Singapore in a new era of competition from China and India.

"We do need a critical mass," she said.

The size of that mass is a source of speculation.

Dianel Lian, Southeast Asian economist at Morgan Stanley, said in a recent report that Singapore may be on the cusp of a monumental policy shift that could lead to a doubling in its current population of 4.2 million over the long term.

Its about to get damn crowded in Singapore...

The actual figure from Morgan Stanley is quoted below along with a link to the actual article.

The following is the introduction to an article from Morgan Stanley written by Daniel Lian on September 10, 2004. It is of course not a public government backed announcement just their speculation of the future population size, is it possible and what effect might it have on the market.... However if it in any way relates to the future population size then its going to get damn crowded.

A Bigger Singapore?

A Monumental Population Policy Shift?

On September 3, the Singapore government announced measures to broaden immigration criteria, so as to boost its population. The key criteria shift appears to be on academic qualifications and social integration. The previous emphasis on tertiary or professional qualifications is now balanced by essential/appropriate job skills needed by the Singapore economy, as well as the ability of the immigrants and their families to integrate successfully into Singapore's society. Prior to the shift, Singapore had always preferred to take in well educated (or wealthy, in some cases)
foreigners, so as to enlarge its pool of highly skilled labour.

The announced new measures do not seem to be drastic at first glance. However, we believe Singapore can leverage a much bigger population to help it 'sharpen' its three-pronged economic strategy. While we are not privy to any policy insight, we believe it is quite possible that the country will contemplate a monumental shift in its population policy - one that would substantially increase its population from the present 4 million to perhaps 6 to 8 million over the long term.

For the rest of the article read...
Demographic and Labor Force Snapshots

The following are links to two of my previous posts on the birth rate in Singapore.
Birth Rate
The Battle of Sexuality


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