Why S’pore needn’t raise birth rate

The next time someone laments to me that Singapore’s fertility rate is low and falling and that at 1.9 or 1.5 per couple, we are not reproducing ourselves, I shall give them this lecture:

  • The replacement rate of 2.1 is out of date.
  • Useful at a time when people were retiring at 50 or 55 and the kids started work almost straight out of school or even younger.
  • Useful when people were exiting this world in droves from their 60s and life expectancy wasn’t above 70. 
  • Today, people retire later. 62 is the present norm and soon, it will be 65. Even then, informal or lower paid employment can extend to 75 and sometimes beyond.
  • Today, people are better educated, have more savings, can support themselves longer and life expectancy is 85 or thereabouts and rising.
  • Given this scenario of people living longer, some 25 years longer than was the case when Singapore had too many births, isn’t it just great that the stop-at-2 campaign worked so well?
  • Otherwise, we would have more babies coming out of the pipeline even as those who have long arrived are taking their time to check out!
  • Then we would be in an over-population crunch: with the young and old competing for work, space and funds.
  • Instead, today, one or two children families have the luxury of keeping their kids at school longer, as both papa and mama work longer and in higher paying jobs, because of their better qualifications.
  • And because couples have fewer kids, they will have more resources left over from their working life to finance their old age arising from a longer life span. 

 So please don’t lament Singapore’s low birth rate but celebrate it as the new norm in the Brave New World in which our demographics are rapidly taking on a fresh and positive shape.

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6 thoughts on “Why S’pore needn’t raise birth rate

  1. To create more babies in a concrete, competitive and commercial community where smiling courteous campaigns are necessary… am I lost in translation?

  2. Hi Amy: Thanks again for dropping by. Nothing’s lost in translation. S’pore is in what i call the wealth-birth rate cycle. It’s happening in all developed countries. Why even the supposedly most Catholic country in world, Italy, is suffering from worse repro rates than S’pore.

    The poor-to-middle-class period of the cycle is when they go for fewer children, because those who made it want to enjoy life and give better lives to their offspring. The fewer babies, the bigger the pie.

    The move of those from the middle class to the upper classes will see some reversing the birth trend by having more kids: because got more time and more money to spread around. However, as numerically, there will fewer making it to the upper echelons of wealth, and only a portion of those who do will have more kids, they will not be able to make up for the shortfall.

    Hey falling birthrates are happening all over to countries which make it economically and nothing that’s specific to S’pore lah!

    Want more babies without prompting? Then wish for S’pore to go back to the Year Zero.

  3. Hi someone-from-afar: eh, why are u using a new moniker? Don’t lah. Just stick to yr original, K? And Uncle, where have you been? Polygamy is already the norm except polygamous couples don’t want more children, at least those who want a relationship but not the complications.

    What might happen is that 50 years from now, we may have a Baby Day to honour the vanishing specie.
    😀 😀

  4. Uncle Keng thanks for tracking! And pse don’t b shocked by my surmises, hey! Polygamy in the co-habiting sense lah; not necessarily go thru marriage ceremonies. Also, not necessarily polygamist = men! Have a gd week-end whichever part of the world u’re from.

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