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Singapore Budget 2018: Singapore's population expected to be below 6.9 million by 2030
SINGAPORE is not expected to change its immigration policy, and its population is likely to be "significantly below" 6.9 million by 2030, said Josephine Teo, who is in charge of population matters in the Prime Minister's Office.
The figure refers to a projection set out in the 2013 Population White Paper for planning purposes, but which had sparked a public outcry.
Mrs Teo also said that Singapore's population is expected to be below 6 million by 2020, as she outlined the strategies to meet the challenges of a falling birth rate and slow population growth.
Population growth has dropped to 1 per cent over the last five years from 3 per cent for the previous five.
Mrs Teo said the current rate of immigration allows Singapore to achieve close to the same effect as if Singaporeans had a full-replacement total fertility rate (TFR) of 2.1. Singapore's TFR was 1.16 last year.
Last year, 22,076 Singapore citizenships were granted, about the same as in the past five years, while the permanent resident (PR) population remained largely stable at around 530,000, with 31,849 PRs granted last year, she said.
She added that the government does not expect any major changes to its immigration policy at the present stage.
Maintaining immigration will stave off an even sharper decline in Singapore's working-age citizen population, which will soon shrink.
The number of Singaporeans aged 20 to 64 is projected to peak at 2.2 million around 2020 and will decline after that, even with immigrants.
"Without immigration, it would have started to shrink earlier and decline at a much faster rate," she said.
The government will remain selective about the profile of Singapore's immigrants, said Mrs Teo, because it affects how Singapore grows a strong national identity.
"This is why we prioritise not only those who can contribute, but those who are also prepared to sink roots in Singapore, and can integrate well here."
In her speech, she also said the Ministry of Manpower will provide more updates on how a complementary balance between the local and foreign workforce can be further enhanced, taking in view how foreign employment has also grown at a much slower pace between 2013 and 2015, and even fell in 2016 due to cyclical factors.
She said efforts over the past years have led to good employment outcomes for Singaporeans, leading to a growth in employment rates among those aged 25 to 64, and with real income growth at the median and 20th percentile of full-time employed citizens growing by 3.9 per cent and 4.3 per cent per annum between 2012 to 2017.
Workforce growth from 2018 to 2020 will also slow to about 1 to 2 per cent per year, she said. "Having said that, we think it is a more sustainable pace."
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For more Budget 2018 stories visit bt.sg/budget18