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Singapore population up 1.3% to 5.61m
SINGAPORE'S population grew by 1.3 per cent to reach 5.61 million in June, said the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) on Tuesday.
Its annual report on the country's population trends revealed that the total comprises 3.41 million citizens, 520,000 permanent residents (PRs) and 1.67 million non-residents. (Non-residents include dependants, international students and foreign domestic workers or FDWs.)
The 27-page "Population in Brief" document said the number of citizens grew by 1 per cent - just like last year - as a result of more births and the government's calibrated approach to immigration.
The stork worked over-time in 2015, the Year of the Sheep in the Chinese zodiac, bringing in 33,725 citizen babies. This was the highest number in more than a decade - higher even than the 33,200 citizen births in 2012, the last Year of the Dragon, traditionally viewed as auspicious for births.
The resident total fertility rate (TFR) stayed stable at 1.24, although the Malays and Indians had slight rises in TFR (1.73 to 1.79, and from 1.13 to 1.15 respectively). The TFR is the average number of children born to a woman over the course of her child-bearing years.
Last year was also a bumper year for tying the knot: there were 23,805 citizen marriages, more than this decade's average of about 21,900 such marriages.
The median age at first marriage has remained stable in the last two years - at 30.1 years for males and 27.9 years for females. More than a third of citizen marriages last year involved trans-national couples, and 21 per cent were inter-ethnic.
The report also highlighted Singapore's rapidly greying citizen population on the back of increasing life expectancy and low fertility rates.
The proportion of citizens aged 65 and above inched up to 13.7 per cent, up from 13.1 per cent last year. The median age of citizens rose to 41, from 40.7 last year.
The NPTD noted that, with an ageing population, the number of citizens in the "working-age" band of 20-64 years will shrink over time, while the number of citizens aged 65 and up is set to nearly double between now and 2030. The ratio this year is 4.7 working-age citizens to 1 elderly person; in 2030, the ratio will be 2.3 to 1. The NPTD said this trend can only be alleviated over the longer term with more citizen births and immigration.
As for the number of non-residents, the NPTD said the 1.67 million figure was 2.5 per cent higher as a result of more FDWs coming to Singapore and dependants of citizens who are on long-term visit passes.
The NPTD report said: "The increase in FDW population growth reflects Singaporeans' rising desire to augment their own care for their children and the elderly."
The size of the foreign workforce grew for the first time this decade, after experiencing sharp dips. This pool of workers (excluding FDWs) grew by 27,000 between June 2015 and June 2016; this was higher than in the 2014-2015 period, when their numbers rose by only 23,000, but lower the 33,000 increase in 2013-2014.
"Foreign workforce growth will continue to be moderated to supplement our local workforce in a sustainable manner. To stay competitive in a tight labour market, businesses will need to re-design jobs and restructure to become more manpower-lean and productive," the NPTD said.
On the topic of immigration, the government will continue granting Singapore citizenship to between 15,000 and 25,000 people each year. There were 20,815 new citizens in 2015; these individuals have family ties with Singaporeans or have either studied, worked or lived here for some time.
Since the tightening of the immigration framework in late-2009, about 30,000 new PRs have joined the pool each year. The majority of PRs are in the "prime working ages" of 25 to 49 years, said the NPTD.