Family and Population Changes in Singapore: A Study in Singapore’s Family and Population Policies
Population issues are an unending concern for governing bodies, even as the population itself might not always be aware of the complexities behind such an area of management. The United Nations marks World Population Day every 11th of July to raise awareness of global population issues, and a small, crowded nation like Singapore faces numerous difficulties in dealing with its fluctuating population numbers.
Professor Jean Yeung of the Centre for Family and Population Research (CFPR), Department of Sociology, and Asia Research Institute (ARI) at NUS, and Research Fellow Dr Shu Hu (CFPR and ARI), state in their edited book, Family and Population Changes in Singapore (Routledge, 2018), that Singapore is unique in its development of family and population policies, with its exposure to Eastern and Western influences. The book points out the Singapore government’s tendency to influence marriage and childbearing. The low and declining fertility rates in recent years have led to policies such as cash incentives of baby bonuses for each child, priority for public housing for married couples, and childcare subsidies. Despite such efforts, fertility rates continue to decline.
At the same time, Family and Population Changes in Singapore also highlights Singapore’s multiracial environment that requires meticulous management. The government has to take note of age, gender, and ethnic composition as part of Singapore’s population policy development. Societal dynamics continue to change with inter-ethnic marriages, an aging workforce, and increasing diversity due to immigration. The book addresses how the definition of families and its functions by government policies have transformed over time in response to such societal shifts.
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