The economy of Singapore. Family, Marriage and the Threat of declining birth rate in Singapore

Essay by pooh_cantona August 2003

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I. Introduction

The economy of Singapore is increasing rapidly yet it is also facing the threat of declining birth rate which causes the aging population. This fact is cited in two articles of Wendy Tan and Grace Chua from The Strait Times Interactive Website which are attached in this report. It can be argued that Singapore is not alone among developed nations in having a declining birth rate, however, the aging population, for a small population like Singapore, can be quite serious. It has also been noted that family and marriage are not only the private matters left to individual but also have impacts on our nation and society. Therefore, it is very important for the entire community to find out the problems and solutions for them as well. This can be support and strengthen the formation of families to raise birth rate of Singapore.

As can be seen from these two articles, some reasons were shown such as rising infertility rate, liberal view towards marriage commitment, child-bearing, pragmatic government etc.

This paper, hence, aims to evaluate these causes individually based on the theories of Kou & Wong (1979), Salaff (1997) and Straughan (1999) as well as give some recommendations, add some reasons that have not included in the articles and argument in other side of this matter.

II. Extent of the problem

In recent year, we have seen a gradual shift in long-held attitudes towards relationships, marriage and family. More Singaporeans are remaining single, delaying marriage and having fewer children. More Singaporeans place priorities on careers and other material life goals. All of these factors lead to the decreased birth rate in Singapore. Hence, we look at three main problems: The family values, the work and family environment and the role of government. These...