Full name: Republic of Singapore Population: 4.8 million (UN, 2010) Capital: Singapore• Area: 660 sq km (255 sq miles)• Major languages: English, Malay, Mandarin, Tamil• Religions: Taoism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism• Life expectancy: 79 years (men), 84 years (women) (UN)
POPULATION POLICY IN SINGAPORE – CASE STUDY The rapid population growth throughout the 1950s created several problems:1. Widespread unemployment2. Shortage of housing3. Insufficient educational and healthcare services for the people4. Increasing pressure on the limited resources of the country
Measures To Encourage Small Families:1. The Singapore government launched the National Family Planning Programme in 1966.Responsible for:• Initiating and implementing family planning policy through public education programmes using television, radio, newspapers and pamphlets.• Communicating that small families were desirable• Providing subsidized family planning services through its Maternal and Child Health (MCH) clinics
The SFPPB’s slogan was“Girl or Boy – Two is Enough”
• Legalising abortion and Sterilisation in 1970.• Women who had given birth were advised to go to MCH clinics or their family doctors for Family Planning services.• They were able to gain advice and consultation on contraception and purchase contraceptives at reduced prices.
3. Incentives such as tax relief, priority housing and paid maternity leave were further implemented to encourage smaller family sizes.4. Some disincentives include zero maternity leave and allowance for women having more than two children
• The Small Families Improvement Scheme (SFIS) was established to provide: financial incentives to low income couples who have small families. When the couples were successfully being accepted into the programme, they had to practice a reliable family planning method and the clinical staff would help monitor them to ensure the effectiveness of the family planning method.
Why the Family Planning Programme implemented by the SFPPB was extremely successful?1. Singapore was well- educated, highly urbanized society2. Increasing numbers of women were entering the workforce or continuing with higher education3. The trend of later marriages was becoming more accepted
4. Longer gap between children5. A downward trend of total fertility rate from 2.1 babies per6. woman in 1975 to 1.4 babies per woman in 19867. Fertility rate refers to the number of live births per thousand women of child- bearing age per year
Problems Which Resulted: This campaign was so successful that ironically, problems began to surface:1. With the birth rates falling and death rates remaining low, Singapore’s population began to age. More elderly people became dependent on the proportion of population that was working
2. The government recognized the importance of having young citizens to replace the ageing workforce because the economy would not be as competitive as compared to other countries.3. Continued economic expansion was considered difficult without some increase in the local labour supply.4. There was also concern that a reduction in the number of young male adults enlist in the armed forces would have serious consequences for national security.
A New Policy in 1987The government discovered that it was the moreeducated couples who were not having morechildren. Those who had a lower level of educationwere reproducing at a faster rate. Thus, in line withthe government’s policy of cultivating a moreeducated and higher-skilled workforce, thegovernment introduced a campaign with slogan“Have Three or More If You Can Afford It.”
Measures To Encourage Bigger Families People wereencourage to marryat a younger age toincrease theopportunity to havemore children duringtheir high fertilityyears.
Several incentives were offered to encourage more birth: -a) Couples who were earning higher incomes were offered the greatest amount of tax relief and rebates with the aim of encouraging the well-educated people to have more children
b) If mothers gave birth to their second child before they were 28 years of age, a tax rebate of $20 000 was givenc) For children attending government-approved childcare centres, parents were given a $100 subsidy per month regardless of their income.d) Third child families were given priority over small families for school registration.e) The government also approved that ‘Medisave’ could be used for the birth of the third child, whether the child was delivered in a government or private hospital.
• The initial response to the new policy was positive.• Before the policy was implemented, total fertility rate was 1.4 babies per woman in 1986,• it rose slightly to 1.96 per woman.• The rate dropped to 1.9 babies per woman in 1990 and continued to fall to 1.6 babies per woman in 1999.
The decline in replacement level in Singapore is due to:1. Increasing numbers of Singaporeans not getting married. Out of 100 males aged between 25 to 29 years old, 66 were single in 1988. In 1998, this figure increased to 70. Out of 100 females aged between 25 to 29 years old, 41 were single in 1988. In 1998, this figure increased to 44 out of 100.2. Women are having children at an older age because couples are marrying later. This results in families having fewer children
Additional incentivesIn 2001, Government offeredthe Children Development Co-Savings Scheme (or Baby Bonusscheme). The aim of the BabyBonus Scheme is to remove thefinancial obstacles associatedwith having more children.When a family has morechildren, a ChildrenDevelopment Account will beset up by the government forthe second child of the family.
• The government will contribute $500 to the account annually and match, up to another $1000, for every dollar deposited into the account by the family.• For the third child, the government will contribute $1000 to the account annually and match, up to another $2000 in contributions by the family.• This incentive will be valid until the children are six years of age. The money can be utilized for the education and development of any child in the family.
Additional incentives (Cont.1)2. The government will also offer The Third Child Paid maternity Leave Scheme. The government will pay up to a maximum of $20 000, the wage cost of a mother granted eight weeks of maternity leave for her third child.3. More family-friendly work arrangements in the civil service and making more childcare centres available and affordable. The government will monitor birth rates until 2006 to review the effectiveness of these policies.