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In the News

29 October 2019 | Parents’ Housing Linked to Children’s Economic Future | NUS News

An NUS study has revealed that the type of housing Singaporean parents own has significant influence on their children’s future economic status.

The study was co-authored by Low Tuck Kwong Distinguished Professor Sumit Agarwal and Associate Professor Qian Wenlan from the Department of Finance at NUS Business, together with Associate Professor Sing Tien Foo, Dean’s Chair and Director of the NUS Institute of Real Estate and Urban Studies (IREUS) and Assistant Professor Yi Fan from NUS Design and Environment.

The study found that children from low-income families, defined as having parents in the bottom 60th percentile of the nation, show upward mobility in housing wealth. In contrast, children from middle-income families with parents ranked in the 60th to 80th percentile are worse off than their parents in housing type, in a large part due to them capitalising on government housing subsidies. Meanwhile, children born to the wealthiest 20 per cent of families keep closest to their parents’ wealth levels, but are nevertheless worse off in absolute rank partly because there is less room for them to surpass their parents.

NUS Article


18 October 2019 | The CPHOP Lifetime Achievement Award | NUS News

Congratulations to Associate Professor Wong Mee Lian, who was conferred the College of Public Health and Occupational Physicians (CPHOP) Lifetime Achievement Award at the 14th Singapore Public Health and Occupational Medicine Conference on 15–16 October.

The CPHOP Lifetime Achievement Award honours exceptional public health and occupational medicine (PHOM) leaders and visionaries. A/Prof Wong has devoted more than 20 years of her career researching marginalised and vulnerable women in Singapore. She developed and evaluated programmes and behavioural interventions to raise awareness and reduce incidence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among sex workers.

NUS Article


12 September 2019 | Drinking tea improves brain health | NUS News

A recent study led by CFPR's Research Associate Dr. Feng Lei, from the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine's Department of Psychological Medicine, revealed that regular tea drinkers have better organised brain regions – which is associated with healthy cognitive function – compared to non-tea drinkers. The research, carried out with collaborators from the University of Essex and University of Cambridge, offers the first evidence of positive contribution of tea drinking to brain structure and suggests that drinking tea regularly has a protective effect against age-related decline in brain organization. The findings were published in a recent issue of the scientific journal Aging.

NUS Article


3 September 2019 | Language, dialect heard in infancy never really forgotten, study finds | The Straits Times

A recent study led by Associate Professor Leher Singh, from the Department of Psychology, has found that Singaporeans who were exposed to Hokkien as young children because of their main caregivers, were able to process uniquely Hokkien tones and re-learn the Chinese dialect easily as adults, even though they had not used the dialect for years. This "ghost in the brain" effect shows that languages and dialects acquired early have a "special place in your brain, such that you can reactivate them under the right circumstances", said A/P Singh.

The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology in May, also found that early exposure to another language or dialect does not affect children's acquisition of English.


22 August 2019 | Time to Counter Ageism in the Workplace | The Straits Times

Professor Wei-Jun Jean Yeung, Provost-Chair Professor from the Department of Sociology at NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences; Cluster Leader (Changing Family in Asia) at Asia Research Institute; and Founding Director of the Centre for Family and Population Research at NUS, opined that raising the retirement age is an inevitable policy shift. Employers and government need to work hard together to counter ageism and foster a work culture and environment friendly to a workforce with different age groups.


11 July 2019 | Demographic discrepancies cause worry | China Daily Global

“How will people support themselves during old age, especially those who do not work. They also need long-term care because as people live longer, those added years may not be healthy years,” CFPR Deputy Director Associate Professor Bussarawan Teerawichitchainan, on Asia’s need to ensure the health and financial security of the elderly. She also commented on developing Asia’s need to address the lack of family planning policies and cultural bias against women’s reproductive health.


26 June 2019 | Asia's Family and Population in Focus | NUS News

In conjunction with its fifth anniversary, CFPR launched a new book - "Family and Population in Asia" at the Singapore Book Fair 2019 on 6 June. Comprising 30 bilingual essays based on evidential research by CFPR associates, Family and Population in Asia offers insights into challenges faced by Asian societies today, as well as solutions to move forward.

Edited by Professor Jean Yeung (CFPR's Co-Director) and Associate Professor Thang Leng Leng (Head of Dept of Japanese Studies, FASS; and Fellow (Honorary) of the College of Alice and Peter Tan), the book delves into issues such as children, marriage, fertility, work, ageing, fatherhood as well as women and gender issues.


9 April 2019 | How commuting times affect HDB flat prices | The Straits Times


A study by Dr Eric Fesselmeyer, Senior Lecturer, and A/Prof Liu Haoming from the Dept of Economics at NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences found that both average trip duration and travel-time uncertainty are indeed capitalised into HDB flat prices.


5 April 2019 | Centre for Family and Population Research celebrates 5th anniversary | The Straits Times


CFPR celebrated its fifth anniversary on 5 April, with Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee, as Guest-of-honour.


21 March 2019 | Thailand set to face growing demands of elderly transition | China Daily

Thailand is now among the world's rapidly ageing countries, and the rising financial and healthcare needs of the elderly pose a serious challenge to its policymakers. CFPR Deputy Director Associate Professor Bussarawan Teerawichitchainan shared with China Daily programs which Thailand has implemented to support the elderly. She said that despite several changes in the Thai government, the concerns of the elderly remain one of the authorities' top priorities.


27 Jan 2019 | Employment for senior citizens can be more flexible | Lianhe Zaobao

Prof Thang Leng Leng from the Dept of Japanese Studies at NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences shared her interaction with an insurance salesperson who was still working full-time despite being close to 80.


13 Jan 2019 | Department of Statistics: Increase in median monthly income for households | Channel 8

CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung was interviewed on Channel 8’s News Tonight as they talked about the highlights from the Department of Statistics’ annual Key Household Income Trends report. She discusses about how current elderly trends are possible reasons for the changes in Singapore’s median monthly household income trends.


3 Jan 2019 | 'NUS study finds that severe air pollution affects the productivity of workers' | Research

Prolonged exposure to pollutant particles was shown to reduce the output of workers in China.
Economists from the National University of Singapore (NUS), A/Prof Alberto Salvo, A/Prof Liu Haoming and Dr He Jiaxu have completed an extensive study which reveals that exposure to air pollution over several weeks is not just unhealthy, it can also reduce employee productivity.

28 Dec 2018 | 'Study: older adults care more about others’ welfare' | Channel 8

A study led by Asst Prof Yu Rongjun from the Dept of Psychology at NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences found that when it comes to making financial decisions under risk, older adults will regard the financial outcomes of others’ as their own and make choices that they would have selected for themselves, unlike younger adults.

Article | • Capital 95.8FM, 28 December 2018


2 Nov 2018 | 'Narrowing the inequality gap: How can children from low income families gain equal access to pre-school education in Singapore ?' | Channel 8

Preschool education can reduce income inequality and facilitate social mobility in a society. CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung discusses the longitudinal early childhood study currently undertaken by CFPR to observe this and many other relevant issues about Singaporean children's early development.


4 Oct 2018 | 'The difference between Singlehood and Marriage' | Channel 8 news

CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung discusses the reason for the increase in the ratio of singles, and the impact of the single-person ratio on the economy and society.


27 Sept 2018 | 'Singapore’s population grows slightly to 5.64m, with non-resident numbers stable' | Channel NewsAsia and Channel 8 news

Although the actual number of people getting married has increased in Singapore, the ratio of singles in almost all age groups has increased compared to the past decade. CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung talks about womens' labor force participation and how it is linked to singlehood.


3 Sept 2018 | 'Singapore: the country with one of the world's lowest birth rate' | BBC World News and BBC World Service

Singapore is reportedly facing one of the world's lowest birthrate, and the government has been taking many steps to improve the scenario. BBC World News and BBC World Service seek CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung's views on certain aspects of this issue such as how low is Singapore’s birth rate, whether it is a matter of concern, the measures taken by the government and if those steps are being fruitful.


28 August 2018 | 'China's Two-Child Policy' | Channel NewsAsia Singapore

According to Reuters, China appears to be setting the stage to end its decades-long policy of determining the number of children that couples can have, as suggested by a social media post by a state-run newspaper. CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung was interviewed to talk about the possible reason behind the change in the policy, impact of the two-child policy implemented on 2016, social problems caused by the one-child policy i.e. burden on elderly care, negative impact on the country's economic vitality. Lastly she talks about the government's initiatives to tackle the country's demographic problems while the effect of this policy change takes place.


13 July 2018 | 'Fewer births, more deaths as Singapore population ages' | The Straits Times

The demographics in ageing Singapore proves to be worrying as number of babies born in 2017 is down by 4% to seven-year low; deaths are up 4% from 2016. CFPR Research Associate Sociologist Tan Ern Ser and Dr Tan Poh Lin discuss different factors of this issue.


18 June 2018 | 'How Do You Make People Have Babies?' | BBC World Service

More than half the world’s countries are not producing enough babies to offset the number of deaths. Despite the government rolling out measures to encourage people to have more children, the fertility rate continues to drop. BBC World Service discusses this demographic crisis in 4 countries - Singapore, Sweden, France, and Israel in the episode titling 'How Do You Make People Have Babies?''.CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung shares her views on this issue pertaining Singapore.


17 May 2018 | 25% of women aged 46-50 do not have children | Shin Min Daily News

CFPR Director Jean Yeung and Dr Hu Shu talk about Singapore's low fertility and marriage rates, and possible policy changes to tackle this.


25 March 2018 | You date, government foots the bill | CCTV 13

CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung shares about the various incentives the Singapore government has put in place, with the aim to help parents manage work and family, as well as to make marriage and family a more attractive option for singles. The video interview is only available for viewing on mobile devices.


20 February 2018 | Hello Singapore | Channel 8 News

CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung was interviewed on Channel 8's Hello Singapore program where she discussed about various focus issues of Budget 2018, with special emphasis on care for the elderly and planning for the future.


16 January 2018 | Dip in population density, but not in crowded feeling | The Straits Times

In a recent article on Singapore's population density, CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung highlighted that the conscious decision by the government to limit the number of new immigrants has contributed to slower population growth.

6 December 2017 | Singapore Tonight | Channel NewsAsia

CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung was interviewed on Channel NewsAsia's Singapore Tonight program where she addressed the issue of Singapore's "demographic time bomb".


10 November 2017 | Late marriages and low fertility rates in Singapore | CCTV-13 World Express

In the interview, CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung discussed how women feel more pressure as gender roles pushes them to take care of the family while they try to develop their careers, and how this results in more people shying away from marriage and parenthood.


1 October 2017 | Earlier marriages tend to have higher fertility rates | Channel 8 News

In the interview, CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung discussed the trends of timing in marriage and fertility in Singapore. She highlighted that early marriages may help to increase birth rates.


12 September 2017 | Commentary: IKEA’s month-long paternity leave a shining example to be followed | The Straits Times

CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung discusses how children, families and society benefit when fathers take paternity leave, and may even boost fertility rates.


July/August 2017 issue | Demographic Trends in Southeast Asia | ASEANFocus

In the July/August issue of ASEANFocus by ISEAS, CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung highlights the current uneven state of development in Southeast Asia, and its implications on human capital development, elderly care, and poverty.

You can read her featured article on p. 12-14.


23 July 2017 | Church pioneers integrated facility for children, seniors | TODAY

CFPR Deputy Director Prof Thang Leng Leng emphasised that inter-generational interaction was an important benefit of having an integrated facility serving both children and seniors.


22 June 2017 | Primetime Asia Program | Channel NewsAsia

CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung was interviewed on Channel NewsAsia's Primetime Asia program where she addressed global population growth issues such as ageing and migration.


17 May 2017 | The impact of crowdedness on housing prices | The Straits Times

Dr Eric Fesselmeyer highlighted that an increase in localised density negatively affected prices, thereby carrying important policy implications since almost all cities regulate density using measures such as plot ratio in Singapore.


27 April 2017 | $21 million in grants awarded for 12 research projects on Singapore society, identity | The Straits Times


CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung leads a multi-disciplinary team for an $8.5 million national panel study on Building Capacity in Singapore's Population: Testing Innovations in Human Development. The project looks at 5,000 families with children aged six and younger, and studies how factors such as early childcare, preschool attendance, the use of technology and family stress, can shape child development and family resilience.


29 January 2017 | Singapore's plea to its people: Won’t you please have more children? |
The Christian Science Monitor


A/P Thang Leng Leng, CFPR Deputy Director, shared her views on the challenges facing governmental efforts to boost Singapore's fertility rates.


19 January 2017 | Singapore Tonight | Channel NewsAsia

CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung and Prof Mary Brinton, Reischauer Institute Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, Harvard University, discussed how to support couples in starting families and boosting Singapore's fertility rates.


19 Jan 2017 | Distinguished Public Lecture on Family and Population, Postindustrial Low Fertility in Europe and East Asia: Lessons for Singapore

More than 250 academics, students and policy makers attended the 19 January Distinguished Public Lecture jointly organised with Global Asia Institute. The Guest-of-Honour for the event was Senior Minister of State Mrs Josephine Teo, Prime Minister’s Office, Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Transport, Republic of Singapore. Our distinguished speaker was Professor Mary Brinton, Reischauer Institute Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, Harvard University.


19 January 2017 | 杨莉明: 年轻一代需对婚姻 有全新的视野 | Mediacorp Channel 8 News


19 January 2017 | 专家:我国要提高生育率 可能得在职场推行更多亲家庭措施 | Capital Radio 95.8 FM

28 October 2016 | Senior Care in China | China Radio International

CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung  discussed the issue of senior care by examining the ageing trends and family structure changes in China as well as the practices and challenges in caring for older adults in China and Singapore.


13 October 2016 | BBC Radio 5

CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung  shared her views on how most Singaporeans’ life courses, including birth timing decisions, and social lives are built around the prevailing HDB culture.


9 October 2016 | Dealing with exam stress | The Straits Times


A/P Thang Leng Leng, CFPR Deputy Director, shared her views on how parents help their children in dealing with exam stress.


25 September 2016 | Singapore's job crunch: Time to learn new skills and update that CV? |
The Straits Times


A/P Liu Haoming, CFPR steering committee member, shared his views on the factors driving the rise of unemployment in Singapore.


24 July 2016 | No money, no getting married: many delaying to build careers first |
The Straits Times


CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung observed that the increase of people in Singapore marrying at an older age reflects a global trend - the lengthening of the transition to adulthood. She explained that young adults now take longer to finish their education and invest heavily in their careers.


9 July 2016 | Keeping up with the Wangs | The Economist

CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung commented that the young feel worse off because they compare and judge themselves against their peers, even if their lives are comparatively better than their parents.


22 June 2016 | The Lonely Aftermath of China's One Child Policy | Bloomberg News

CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung commented about the rising prevalence of one-person households in China. Print version also available here.


8 June 2016 | Primetime Asia Programme | Channel NewsAsia

CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung discussed the long-term implications of China’s university entrance exam and entry into top universities, as well as rural/urban inequalities in the education system.


5 June 2016 | Juggling work and family time, achieving good work-life balance is possible |
The Straits Times


Assoc Prof Thang Leng Leng, Deputy Director of CFPR commented on the importance of communication in achieving work-life balance.


2 June 2016 | The class ceiling | The Economist

CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung shared her views about the class ceiling in China's education system.


26-28 May 2016 | ISA RC28 Conference

ISA RC28 Conference on Intergenerational Transfer, Human Capital and Inequality:

More than 250 scholars from over 30 countries, together with Singapore policy makers, converged at NUS from 26-28 May for an international conference on “Intergenerational Transfer, Human Capital and Inequality,” hosted by CFPR. The Guest-of-Honour for the event was Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singapore Deputy Prime Minister & Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, and the Keynote Speaker was Dr Noeleen Heyzer, Social Scientist and Former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Member, NUS Board of Trustees.



RC28 Conference Presentations featured in The Straits Times:

1 June 2016 | Study: Kids from affluent families more likely in IP, GEP schools

By Ong Xiang Ling and Dr Cheung Hoi Shan

1 June 2016 | Students in IP schools more confident of getting at least a university degree

By Ong Xiang Ling and Dr Cheung Hoi Shan


30 May 2016 | Poll on elderly Singaporeans throws up surprises

By Assoc Prof Angelique Chan,
CFPR Research Associate


28 May 2016 | More girls entered better JCs over past 4 decades: Study

By Dr Vincent Chua,
CFPR Steering Committee Member


27 May 2016 | Enrolment at some elite JCs show education can spawn inequality: Study

By Dr Vincent Chua,
CFPR Steering Committee Member



2 February 2016 | At least 33,793 Jubilee babies born in 2015, the highest in 13 years |
The Straits Times


CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung commented about the record birth during the Jubilee Year, the highest in 13 years.


27 January 2016 | Asia Business News | BBC

CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung was interviewed on BBC's Asia Business News. The episode discusses the connection between economic growth and birth rates in Asia.


4 January 2016 | More incentives urged for increased parental leave, work flexibility |
TODAY Online


Assoc Prof Thang Leng Leng, Deputy Director of CFPR, shared her views on how companies can offer more incentives for flexible work arrangements.

4 December 2015 | Hello Singapore | Mediacorp Channel 8's current affairs programme

CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung  was interviewed in Mandarin on the issue of the growing trend of aged resident households in Singapore.


29 August 2015 | Young, single, and what about it? | The Economist

CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung  research was cited in a recent issue of The Economist that discusses one-person households among the young in China.


27 August 2015 | The kin and I | The Economist

CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung  research was cited in a recent issue of The Economist that discusses the rising number of old living alone in China.


9 May 2015 | Jean Yeung: Men now expected to bring home the bacon - and cook it |
The Supper Club | The Straits Times


CFPR Director Prof Jean Yeung shared her views on Singapore's low fertility and marriage rates, on getting fathers more involved in supporting the family, an increasing number of singles and single-parent benefits.


28 April 2015 | CFPR's Official Launch

CFPR's Official Launch and Conference on Singapore Families and Population Dynamics :

CFPR held its official launch and inaugural conference on Singapore Families and Population Dynamics on 28 April 2015. It was graced by Minister Grace Fu and attended by NUS President Prof Tan Chorh Chuan, FASS Dean Prof Brenda Yeoh, the rest of the FASS Deanery, distinguished scholars, policy makers, students and the media.


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