Latest census data shows number of Chinese Christians increasing
The proportion of Chinese Christians has risen from 14 per cent to 17 per cent within the last 10 years. Christianity has overtaken Taoism as the "second most important" religion of the Chinese here. There are now just over one million Buddhists in Singapore, 371,000 Muslims, 364,000 Christians, 212,000 taoists and nearly 100,000 Hindus. Those with no religion number 370,000, while other religions account for nearly 16,000. Most of those who reported having no religion are Chinese, according to the latest census data released on 17 Nov 2000 by the Department of Statistics.
Marriages on the rise while divorce rates are dropping
Marriages are on the rise while divorce rates are dropping, according to the latest figures from the Department of Statistics. The number of younger men getting hitched is also on the rise, as the prime age for marriage in 1999 was between 25 and 29, compared to 1998, when most men got married when they were 30 - 34 years old. The total number of marriages registered in 1999 was 25,648 - about 11% higher than the 23,106 registered in 1998. On the other hand, the total number of marriage dissolutions (divorces and annulments) dropped by 5.6% - from 5,651 in 1998 to 5,333 in 1999 - bucking the four-year upward trend since 1994.
Singapore Census 2000 Findings
Singapore's population has surged past the four-million mark, with the increase being made up largely through an influx of foreigners according to findings released by the Singapore Department of Statistics on 31 Aug 2000. More than one in four people in Singapore is now a foreigner. The rise in the number of foreigners has also outpaced the rate of growth for citizens, according to this year's census figures.
There are now one million more people compared to ten years ago. But more than half of this increase is made up of permanent residents (PRs) and non-residents - foreign workers, students, expatriates, and others without permanent residency, including transients and tourists. Singapore citizens account for 74% of the population - a drop from 86.1% in 1990.
The median age in Singapore has gone up from 29 in 1990 to 34 now. Those aged between 45 and 54 saw the fastest growth, at 6.7% each year. The trend could be tied to the movement of post war baby boomers into the older age brackets, Chief Statistician Dr Paul Cheung said. Females now outnumber males for the first time. There are now 998 males for every 1,000 females. Dr Cheung attributed this to migration, as a large number of PRs are women married to Singapore men, and to the fact that women outlive men.
Total Fertility Rate down
Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong on 27 Aug 2000 announced that civil servants can now look forward to three days' paternity leave for their first three children.He said that the new measures announced at the National Day Rally on 20 Aug 2000 were meant to help overcome some of the obstacles that Singaporeans faced in getting married and having children. He also voiced another concern that the government faces: Chinese and Indian Singaporeans are not producing enough babies to replace themselves. The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) for Chinese Singaporeans is at a low of 1.3. If it does not improve, the Chinese resident population will decline by 2020. The TFR for Indian Singaporeans is 1.58. But, he said he was glad the Malays here did not face a problem here as they have a TFR of 2.42.
Shortfall of land when population swells to 5.5 million
Singapore could face a shortfall of 4,000 hectares of land when its population swells to 5.5 million, which it is expected to do in 40 years' time. The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) estimates that 16,000 hectares of land is needed to meet the housing, employment and recreation needs of a population of that size. However, the stock available stands at 12,000 hectares. This includes reclaimed land and land that will be reclaimed in the future. To address this problem, urban planners will have to intensify land usage, either by making buildings taller and denser, housing industries in high-rise blocks or setting aside less land for parks, said the URA at a media briefing on 26 Aug 2000.
Planners expect the population of Singapore to reach 5.5 million by 2040 or 2050, taking into account an expected increase in the number of foreigners working here. From just 3 million in 1990, the number has swelled to 3.9 million today, including 700 000 foreigners.
A high-level working committee is now looking at ways to encourage more couples to have babies. Demographer Saw Swee Hock says that if the fertility rate continues to stay below two, the population here, minus the foreigners, will peak at about 3.3 million in 2025 and then begin to drop.
Figures from the Department of Statistics show that in 1987, 16012 babies were born to mothers with at least secondary education. This was 38% of all babies born in that year. In 1998, the number almost doubled to 72%, or 31578 babies. Chief Statistician Paul Cheung said that the figures highlighted a distinct shift in procreation patterns among Singapore couples, with more well-educated couples having more babies.
Latest statistics show that about 18% of the 3.9 million population are foreigners working and living here. If permanent residents are included, the proportion of foreigners jumps to 24%.
Singapore will need another 800 000 dwelling units to accommodate a projected population of 5.5 million by 2040. That will bring the total number of homes to 1.8 million units, almost twice the figure of nearly one million homes for the present population of 3.9 million people.
Figures from the Ministry of Community Development and Sports (MCDS) show that the number of Singapore men marrying foreign women went up from 3830 in 1997 to 4272 in 1998. And, in both years, about nine in ten men were non-graduates. When it comes to picking his foreign bride, the single man's top choices are Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Thailand and India.
Data compiled by the Department of Statistics has shown that household income of the bottom 10% of the population had plummeted to an average of S$133 a month last year, down from S$258 in 1998 and S$370 in 1990. The number of households with monthly income of less than S$3000 increased to 42%, up from 40% in 1998. In contrast, households in the top 20% earned 18 times more than those in the bottom 20%. The ratio was 15 in 1998.
The average monthly household income of Housing Board residents has risen by about 40% from S$2653 in 1993 to S$3719 in 1998. According to the Housing Board's latest household survey, practically every household has a television set, telephone, and refrigerator.